Retail sales in the Eurozone were the highest in almost eight years in December as Christmas shoppers splashed out on presents, food and fuel, likely encouraged by falling prices in the bloc.
Led by a strong showing in Spain, retail trade volumes rose 2.8pc in December compared to the same month in 2013, the best year-on-year growth since March 2007, the EU's statistics office, Eurostat, said. That was also better than the forecast of economists polled by Reuters.
On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.3pc, a slower pace than in November but still slightly more than expected. November sales were also revised upwards.
The improving picture in Eurostat's reading follows a European Commission survey last week showing an improvement in consumer confidence in January to a six-month high. Many consumers appeared more confident about making major purchases and see prices falling over the next 12 months. (Reuters)