Euro zone retail sales dip for second straight month
Euro zone sales fell for a second consecutive month in October, against expectations of a slight increase, as spending on food and drinks and motor fuel declined.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday that retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro were down 0.1 percent in October, but up 2.5 percent year-on-year.
Economist polled by Reuters had expected a 0.2 percent monthly increase and a 2.7 percent annual rise. In September, sales were also down 0.1 percent month-on-month and up 2.9 percent year-on-year.
Sentiment in the retail sector had risen steadily since June, although slipped in November, with a general improvement in the views of both present and future sales.
By contrast consumer confidence, as measured by the European Commission's monthly economic sentiment survey, only really picked up in November.
The volume of broadly cheaper automotive fuel, fell by 0.4 percent after a 0.6 percent decline in September. Sales of food, drinks and tobacco dropped by 0.5 percent in October after a 0.6 percent decrease the previous month.
Non-food product sales, excluding automotive fuel, rose by 0.1 percent, the same rate as in September.
Retail sales declined by 0.4 percent in the euro zone's biggest economy Germany and by 0.3 percent in the second largest, France. No figures were available for Italy, but in Spain sales went up 0.3 percent.
In the 28 countries of the entire European Union, sales were flat month-on-month in October and 3.1 percent higher year-on-year.