Eurozone retail sales up 0.3%

January saw a slight sales boost across the 17 euro-toting nations. Could things be looking up for British exporters to the eurozone?

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
It’s not quite the 0.7% spike reported by the EU as a whole last month, but a little lift is still better than nothing. The 0.3% figure is triple the 0.1% forecast by analysts. Proof that, in January at least, confidence has returned.

Except that, elsewhere, the figures aren’t quite so reassuring.

According to the Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), the eurozone’s appetite for goods and services has actually shrunk, falling to 49.3 in February from 50.4 in January. This is bad news: a reading of less than 50 indicates a contraction in private sector financial activity.

Figures for Greece and Spain, the eurozone’s biggest casualties, were not released. Perhaps because they were excluded from the report? Doubtless their economies would have pulled sales growth figures into minus territory. But we do know that the composite PMI at EU powerhouse Germany has fallen to a two-month low of 53.2 in February. There are a few over-achievers on the list, however: Latvia’s retail sales are up 6.4%, Slovenia’s are 5.5% higher, and Romania is up 3%. Evidence of new boom markets, perhaps?

Howard Archer, economist at research firm IHS Global Insight, says: ‘While January's eurozone retail sales data were modestly better than expected, they do not hugely dilute concerns that weak consumer spending remains a serious threat to hopes that eurozone economic activity can return to growth in the first quarter of 2012.’

Too early for the party poppers then…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

What are Simon Roberts’ big 3 challenges at Sainsbury’s?

The grocer's new CEO has taken the reins at a critical time.

Should CEOs get political?

The protests that have erupted over George Floyd’s murder have prompted a corporate chorus of...

“You literally have to rewrite your job description”

One minute briefing: In hard times, your network becomes more important than ever, says Prezi...

5 bad habits to avoid when leading remotely

In a crisis, it can be hard to recognise when you've taken your eye off...

A top-level guide to scenario planning

COVID creates unprecedented uncertainty, but there are tried and tested ways of preparing for an...

Is it favouritism to protect an employee no one likes?

The Dominic Cummings affair shows the dangers of double standards, but it’s also true that...