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Economy in Brief

European Consumer Spending Weakens in February
by Robert Brusca April 3, 2008

Retail sales are clearly damaged goods in the Euro Area. The drop in February sales was not expected. Two months into the new quarter retail sales volume growth is dead flat. Trend spending growth shows all negative numbers but the degree of decline is steadily diminishing. High and rising food prices are affecting the volume of sales for food. Outside of food, purchases are weak but are showing some resilience with an increase over the recent three months. Nonfood purchases are rising at a 1.8% annual rate in the current quarter. Both Germany and the UK are demonstrating some resilience in the recent three months.

Euro Area 15 Retail Sales Volume
  Feb-08 Jan-08 Dec-07 3-Mo 6-Mo 12-Mo
Euro Area 15 Total -0.5% 0.5% 0.0% -0.3% -2.1% -0.9%
Food -0.2% 0.0% -0.3% -1.7% -2.5% -1.9%
Nonfood -0.8% 0.9% 0.0% 0.3% -1.8% -0.3%
Textiles #N/A 1.7% 0.2% 5.6% -0.2% 2.5%
HH Goods #N/A 0.7% 0.6% 1.9% -2.0% 0.5%
Books newspapers #N/A 1.2% -0.4% 3.8% 0.5% 2.4%
Pharmaceutical #N/A 0.3% 0.1% 1.8% 2.5% 3.2%
Other nonspecialized stores #N/A 0.8% -0.1% -0.1% 0.3% 1.7%
Mail order #N/A 0.2% 3.0% 7.6% 2.1% 4.4%
Nonfood Country Detail; Volume
Germany -0.6% 1.6% -0.5% 1.7% -2.0% -1.1%
France #N/A 0.6% 1.0% #N/A #N/A #N/A
Italy (Total: Value) #N/A 0.2% 0.0% -0.4% 0.9% 0.8%
UK (EU) 1.8% 1.0% 0.2% 12.8% 8.8% 8.3%
Shaded areas calculated on a one-month lag due to lagging data.
The EA 15 countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
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