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Economy in Brief

Euro Area Retail Sales Slow 
by Bob Brusca July 5, 2007

German sales remain weak and it’s not all VAT at this point. Italy is weak. France is robust.

Overall Euro area retail sales volume fell by 0.5% in May and are up by just 0.1% over three months and off by 0.2% over six months. Nonfood retail trends are better, but not by much. By comparison with the Euro area countries the UK, a large EU member, is showing still strong retail sales although its trend is showing a tail-off. The overall trend for the Euro area is showing some sign of exhaustion

While German retail sales are weak and dragging down the Euro area in May, Germany’s own growth is solid on strong MFG sector output and orders. The consumer sector is a lagging sector in Germany and its performance is distorted by the VAT start up that shifted some sales into late 2006. Clearly the consumer is not leading the growth in the Euro area except maybe in France.

Euro Area 13 Retail Sales Volume
  May-07 Apr-07 Mar-07 3-Mo 6-MO 12-Mo
Total -0.5% -0.1% 0.6% 0.1% -0.2% 0.7%
Food -0.3% -0.1% 0.7% 1.0% 0.8% 0.5%
Nonfood -0.6% 0.0% 0.4% -0.9% -0.5% 0.8%
Textiles #N/A 1.5% 0.2% 11.5% 9.2% 6.4%
Household Goods #N/A -0.9% 1.0% 1.8% 0.8% 3.1%
Books news #N/A -0.3% 0.8% 2.4% 1.3% 1.6%
Pharmaceuticals #N/A 0.0% 0.3% 3.0% 2.8% 2.8%
Other Not Specified Elsewhere #N/A -0.4% 0.8% 7.1% 1.7% 1.6%
Mail Order #N/A 0.8% -1.7% 9.4% 4.0% 0.2%
Nonfood Country Detail: Volume
Germany -2.5% 2.0% 0.0% -2.0% -4.9% -1.7%
France #N/A 0.0% 0.8% 4.6% 5.1% 5.1%
Italy (Total Value) #N/A -0.5% 0.2% -1.7% -1.1% -0.9%
UK (EU) 0.1% -0.1% 0.7% 2.9% 6.4% 4.9%
Shaded areas calculated on a one-month lag due to lagging data
The EA 13 countries are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia
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