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Economy in Brief

EMU/EU Retail Sales Enthusiasm is Cut Short…
by Robert Brusca December 5, 2007

Retails sales trends in EMU/EU countries that seemed like they might have been acquiring some life have turned lower in October.

As the first month in a new quarter, the October readings afford us an early look at the speed of sales in the new quarter. We find that retail sales volumes are dropping at a 3.7% annual rate in Q4 in the EMU-13 area. Spending on food is up in the quarter at a 0.1% annualized rate; nonfood items have volumes contracting at a pace of -5.6%.

Sequential growth rates for nonfood and overall retail sales have been showing clear deceleration.

In Germany sales are weakening fast. In the UK the slowing is itself in slow-motion, but the deceleration is still clear to see.

The table below shows that momentum in retail sales volumes has been fading. Europe is slipping regardless of the optimism there.

Euro area 13 Retail Sales Volume
  Oct-07 Sep-07 Aug-07 3-Mo 6-MO 12-Mo
Euro area 13 Total -0.8% 0.2% 0.0% -2.2% -0.6% 0.3%
Food -0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.8% -1.0% 0.2%
Nonfood -1.1% 0.2% -0.2% -3.9% -0.4% 0.4%
Textiles N/A 1.9% -0.3% 10.9% 7.2% 8.2%
HH Goods N/A -1.2% 0.5% -0.8% -0.3% 0.9%
Books newspapers & others N/A -0.3% -0.4% -0.8% 0.7% 1.6%
Pharmaceuticals N/A 0.6% 0.2% 4.7% 4.2% 4.2%
Other nonspecial store sales N/A 0.7% -0.6% -0.3% -0.8% -0.1%
Mail Order N/A -0.1% 0.0% -2.3% 3.7% 3.2%
Nonfood Volume
Germany -3.8% 0.4% 0.3% -11.8% -8.3% -4.0%
France N/A 0.5% -0.4% 2.9% 4.5% 5.2%
Italy (Total Value) N/A -0.5% -0.1% -2.6% -2.9% -2.2%
UK (EU) 0.1% 0.4% 0.7% 4.9% 6.5% 6.7%
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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