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Economy in Brief

Italy’s Retail Sales Show a Slowdown in Progress
by Robert Brusca October 23, 2007

Italy’s retail sales stay on a low-growth path.

Italy’s retail sales have slowed and are staying at that slower pace. Over the past year, at 0.6%, retail sales have slowed from their previous year’s pace of 1.1%. On sequential growth rates there is a very modest up tick in growth to 1.1% over three months. Both food and clothing sales have picked up slightly on that horizon, yet both remain lower yr/yr compared to the previous year. For the new quarter, sales continue their lethargy. Nominal sales are up by almost 1% at an annual rate in the quarter with clothing lagging at a 0.6% pace and food stronger at 1.6%.

Italy’s figures are in sharp contrast with France where spending on MFG goods is up strongly by 5.8% in September from 2.9% (both y/y) in August. France’s figures for September are surprising. Italy’s results are more the sort of thing we have been seeing for some time. On balance France is the unusual signal for the whole of the Euro area since nowhere else do consumers seem to be gaining momentum. Even in France the result is in contrast to the recent industrial indicators we have seen and to the recent strike to protest a reduction in pension benefits for transport sector workers.

Italy Retail Sales Growth
Nominal Aug-07 Jul-07 Jun-07 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO Yr Ago Q-2-Date
Retail Trade 0.2% 0.0% 0.1% 1.1% 0.7% 0.6% 1.1% 0.9%
Food Beverages & Tobacco 0.6% -0.1% 0.0% 2.1% 1.9% 1.3% 1.3% 1.6%
Clothing & Fur 0.1% -0.6% 1.1% 2.4% -1.0% -0.3% 2.0% 0.5%
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