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September 4, 2009

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Shoppers failing to spend euros

OFFICIAL data released yesterday show that retail sales in the 16 nations using the euro fell 0.2 percent during July against June as summer sales failed to tempt shoppers to spend.
This dampens other signs that the euro area is starting to recover from the recession. Businesses and consumers were more optimistic in July and August and inflation finally started rising last month.
The return of economic growth in Germany and France in the second quarter has lifted expectations for the economy to expand more strongly in the rest of the year.
The European Union statistics agency Eurostat said sales of food, drinks and tobacco went down 0.5 percent from June. It says there was no change in sales of other goods. Overall retail sales dropped 1.8 percent in July from the same month last year.
Spending in some euro nations grew strongly but failed to outweigh the downward trend in most countries.
German retailers reported that trade expanded 0.7 percent. Belgium posted a 1.4 percent sales increase. Both countries have rules that boost July sales by allowing shops to widely discount stock.
Worries over rising unemployment have slowed consumer spending over the past year despite a fall in energy and food prices from last summer. Households started to spend more in the second quarter - becoming the main driver of economic growth.


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