Warc, 7 August 2013
BRUSSELS: The volume of retail trade in the 17-member euro-zone fell 0.5% in June compared with May, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Although retail sales in June fell for the first time in three months, marking a slide since the revised 1.1% increase in May, analysts said they did not expect a sustained downward trend.
And the European Central Bank is hoping exports and its low interest rate of 0.5% will boost consumer spending later this year.
Peter Vanden Houte, the chief euro-zone economist at Dutch banking group ING, said: "The negative retail sales growth figure in June is probably just a correction after the strong increase in May and not the start of a renewed downward trend."
Nonetheless, the euro-zone continues to struggle in its longest recession since the formation of the currency area in 1999.
The June retail sales index dropped by 0.9% compared with June last year and Germany, the euro-zone's largest economy, recorded a fall of 1.5%, its biggest monthly decrease since December 2012.
France, the euro-zone's second largest economy, recorded a 0.6% increase and monthly retail sales also increased in nine other countries. The highest increases were in Malta (+1.8%), Luxembourg (+1.3%) and Denmark (+1.2%).
Spending on food, drink and tobacco decreased by 0.6% while the non-food sector dropped by 0.2%. Compared with June 2012, this represented decreases of 1.6% and 0.2% respectively for both sectors.
Statistics for the entire European Union of 27 member states were marginally better, falling 0.3% in June compared to May and rising 0.1% since June last year.
Despite the falls, Vanden Houte remained optimistic about the bigger picture. "All in all, most figures published recently continue to confirm the expectation of a subdued and fragile recovery in the second half of 2013," he concluded.
Data sourced from Reuters, Eurostat; additional content by Warc staff