Euro zone retail sales flat in December

| February 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

Eurostat has today revealed retail sales in the euro zone were unchanged in December from January.

The figures disappointed analysts who had expected a 0.4% rise in which is traditionally the busiest month of the year for retailers.

The latest figures highlight the fragile state of the economy and weak consumer demand.

On an annual basis, Eurostat said sales fell 1.6% across the 16 countries that use the euro.

Commenting on the figures, Martin van Vliet, an analyst at ING bank, said the figures were “a setback to hopes that the pick-up in consumer confidence would start to feed through into higher spending”.

“The breeze of recovery is not yet felt in the retail sector. Many consumers are still concerned about the possibility of losing their job and may be getting concerned about the income implications of future fiscal tightening,” he added.

According to many economists, retail sales could struggle in the coming months as the result of rising unemployment.

Last week, Eurostat revealed that the number of people unemployed across the euro zone grew to 15.8 million in December.

The latest figures mean that the unemployment rate across the 16-member bloc is 10% - the highest rate since 1999.

Analysts believe that the unemployment rate will continue to rise across the region in the coming months.

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