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Reuters
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Dec 5, 2016
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Eurozone retail sales growth accelerates as shoppers buy more fashion

By
Reuters
Published
Dec 5, 2016

Eurozone retail sales rose at their strongest pace in more than two years in October as consumers sharply increased their purchases of non-food products, such as clothing and electricals.

Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro grew by 1.1% in October from September, breaking two months of declines, and by 2.4% from a year earlier, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Monday.



The monthly increase was the highest since August 2014, the year-on-year rise the sharpest in eight months, though the data is volatile and subject to revisions.

Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Markit, said the data boosted the prospects of consumer spending contributing to improved economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Both low inflation - of 0.6% in the eurozone in November -- and an unemployment rate that has fallen below 10% should support such spending. Consumer sentiment rose to a 2016 high in November, the European Commission reported last week.

However, steadily rising inflation over the coming months and political uncertainty could limit the improvement through 2017, Archer said.

The rise was almost exclusively due to a 2.3% monthly expansion of non-food sales, a set which includes textiles, electrical and medical goods, books and online shopping.

On a monthly basis, the increase of sales was sharpest in Slovenia, Luxembourg and Germany, while sales declined in Malta, Ireland, Slovakia and Spain. Year-on-year, the only decline was in Belgium.

 

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