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Eurozone retail sales rose less than expected in October

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Retail sales in the eurozone rose by a meagre amount in October, missing expectations, according to figures out Wednesday from the European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat.

The seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by just 0.1% in October, after an upwardly revised 0.1% rise in September, compared with an earlier estimate of -0.3%.

The consensus forecast was a slightly bigger pick-up in sales of 0.2%.

Non-food product sales were up 0.8% over the month, but fuel sales fell 0.8% and food, drinks and tobacco were down 1.1%.

Compared with October 2022, sales were down 1.2%, better than the 2.9% year-on-year decline in September but slightly worse than the 1.1% fall expected.

Melanie Debono, senior Europe economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said Wednesday’s figures were “disappointing”.

“The rebound in consumption remains broadly absent in retail. We expected a slightly bigger increase given the jump in sales in Germany and the Netherlands, despite declines elsewhere, not least in France and Spain.”

Debono added: “Our forecasts for a continued slide in inflation, and still high wage growth, would suggest an increase in sales is on the cards. But survey measures of consumer confidence suggest consumers remain in little mood to spend, perhaps concerned that another winter snap could lead to higher energy bills again.”

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