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Monday 07th of February 2011
February 3, 2011    

Euro zone retail sales fall in December

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by Kay Murchie
Euro zone retail sales fall in December

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat has today revealed retail sales fell unexpectedly in the euro zone last month.

It represented the second consecutive monthly decline and followed November’s fall of 0.3%.

According to Eurostat, sales fell 0.6% in December on the month, while on an annual basis, sales were down 0.9%.

The figures surprised analysts who had expected a rise but food and non-food sales were down, suggesting consumers were even unwilling to spend during the festive period.

The sharpest falls were in Malta, Slovenia, Ireland, and Lithuania, while the biggest rises were seen in Portugal and Poland.

Major European retailers including Metro and Carrefour said they were hit by the severe wintry weather across the region last month, which knocked sales.

The figures come just days after Eurostat said the unemployment rate in the 17-member euro zone remained stuck at 10% in December.

According to Eurostat, 15.7 million people were unemployed in the euro zone during the month.

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