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Economy in Brief

European Retail Sales Remained Mixed, Weak in August but Solid in Q3
by Robert Brusca October 3, 2007

Retail volumes grew by just 0.1% in the Euro area 13 in August. This follows an upwardly-revised +0.4% in July. That is not an auspicious start to the quarter. However since Q2 ended on such a strong note, again of 0.6% that has sent Q3 off on a relatively firm note so that the gains so far in the quarter have been helped by that momentum. As a result, quarter-to-date growth in EMU is strong. Sales volumes overall are expanding at a 3% pace with food expenditures up at a pace of 0.6%; nonfood spending is expanding at a pace of 4% all annualized at the two-month market in the new quarter.

Still the individual country results are disparate. For Germany, sales are up at just a 2.1% pace in the quarter; for the UK the pace is a very hefty 8.1%. French figures are not yet available but France has been tracking on the high side. Still for EMU as a whole the pace of retail sales seems to be slowing. What the EMU post for the quarter will still depend importantly on what consumers do in September.

Euro Area 13 Retail Sales Volume
  Aug-07 Jul-07 Jun-07 3-Mo 6-MO 12-Mo
Euro Area 13 Total 0.1% 0.4% 0.6% 4.5% 1.9% 0.7%
Food 0.2% 0.3% -0.1% 2.0% 0.6% 0.3%
Nonfood -0.1% 0.4% 1.1% 5.6% 2.2% 0.8%
Textiles #N/A 0.8% 2.9% 0.6% 5.6% 4.9%
HH Goods #N/A 0.2% 1.4% 4.9% 3.3% 3.7%
Books news, etc #N/A 0.2% 1.6% 3.9% 3.4% 3.3%
Pharmaceutical #N/A 0.3% 0.2% 3.8% 3.7% 3.3%
Other Nonspecified #N/A -0.1% 1.3% 2.2% 3.4% 1.1%
Mail order #N/A 0.9% -0.1% 9.3% 9.5% 1.6%
Nonfood Country Detail Volume
Germany 0.9% -0.5% 3.0% 14.5% 2.1% -2.7%
France #N/A 0.4% 1.3% 7.9% 6.5% 5.8%
Italy (Total; Value) #N/A -0.1% 0.0% -1.1% -1.6% -1.1%
UK (EU) 0.7% 0.7% 1.0% 10.2% 7.5% 7.0%
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 and Spain.
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