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Economy in Brief

French Retail Sales Trend Slips
by Robert Brusca February 6, 2008

French sequential growth rates are working their way lower for the volume of total retail sales. Passenger car registrations have, however, picked up a bit. The spike up in car registrations has to do with some changing regulations in France and are clustering sales into the current periods much as they did at the end of 2006 for Germany as buyers there tried to avoid the coming VAT hike. The overall retail numbers do not show much of this effect since the impact is for an auto-specific change related to environmental concerns.

Retail sales volumes in France continue to move ahead at a 2% pace over three months, a bit less than their 3% yr/yr rate and the same as the year ago pace of 2%. French consumers, like other Euro Area consumers are having a hard time getting spending on track. With the new financial turmoil, higher energy prices, strong euro and slowing economy, the consumer may not turn that corner to better times.

French Real Retail Sales
  Dec-07 Nov-07 Oct-07 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO Yr Ago QTR: SAAR
Retail Volume 0.9% -0.7% 0.2% 2.0% 2.2% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0%
Passenger Cars 10.7% 0.5% 0.3% 54.7% 35.4% 19.8% -4.4% 26.7%
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