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Economy in Brief

Diverse Trends in the Volume of Retail Sales Among European Countries
by Louise Curley October 4, 2004

The overall volume of retail sales in Europe fell in August, but there were significantly different trends among the individual countries. The 12 country Euro zone showed a decline of 1.34% from July and one of 0.31% from August,2003. Among these countries, Germany and France have shown remarkably different trends, with France generally improving and Germany almost steadily declining as can be seen in the first chart.

The wider EU 25, which includes, besides the Euro Zone 12, Denmark, Sweden, the U. K. and ten Eastern European countries showed a smaller decline in the volume of retail sales in August--0.41%--from July and showed a 1.99% increase over August, 2003.

The aggregates of the Euro Zone 12 and the EU 25 are preliminary as they are based on those countries that have at least 60% of their total weights available. For the rest of the countries, estimates are made based on forecasting with an ARIMA procedure. These estimates are not published so that the latest data are not available for all the individual countries.

In general, the three Western European countries and the ten Eastern European countries in the EU 25 have shown greater growth in the volume of retail sales since 2001. Since there is no aggregate for these thirteen countries, the best comparison that can be made is that between the Euro Zone 12 and the EU 25 shown in the second chart.

EUROSTAT VOLUME OF RETAIL SALES (2000=100) Aug 04 Jul 04 Aug  03 M/M
 %
Y/Y
 %
2003 %  2002 %   2001 %
Euro Zone 12  101.50 102.88 101.82 -1.34 -0.31 0.27 0.06 1.63
Germany 97.60 96.50 97.80 1.14 -0.20 -0.31 -2.18 1.13
France 107.20 106.70 105.50 0.49 1.61 0.88 1.76 2.58
Spain 108.03 111.44 109.39 -3.06 -0.93 3.15 1.19 3.77
               
European Union 25 107.64 108.08 105.54 -0.41 1.99 1.30 1.65 2.53
United Kingdom 124.26 123.34 116.11 0.75 7.02 3.04 6.49 5.63
Poland                   112.03 111.31 104.99 0.65 6.71 4.47 -1.46 1.68
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