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Retail trade in March down in euro zone, EU month on month

The volume of retail trade in March decreased slightly by 0.4% in the 15-nation euro area, and was down 0.7% in the 27-member European Union, as compared with that of February this year, according to figures released Wednesday by Eurostat, the EU statistics office.

In February, the retail trade fell month-on-month by 0.2% in the euro zone, and increased 0.6% for the whole EU. Meanwhile, the retail sales index fell by 1.6% year on year in the euro zone, but rose by 0.4% in the EU. In March this year, “food, drinks and tobacco” decreased by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.6% in the EU, as compared with that of February this year. The non-food sector fell by 0.6% and 0.8% respectively.

Among the EU members for which data are available, total retail trade in March increased month-on-month only in Sweden (0.4%) and Bulgaria (0.2%), remained unchanged in Romania and fell in 16 member states.

The largest decreases were observed in Slovenia (minus 8.1%), Portugal (minus 4.1%), Luxembourg (minus 3.9%) and Estonia (minus 3.8%). In March, retail trade of “food, drinks and tobacco” fell year-on-year by 2.7% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU. The non-food sector decreased by 0.9% and grew by 1.4% respectively.

The highest increases were observed in Romania (16.2%), Slovakia (10.4%), Lithuania (9.0%) and Bulgaria (8.7%), and the largest decreases in SpainEstonia (minus 4.9%), Denmark (minus 4.6%) and Luxembourg (minus 5.3%), (minus 4.2%).

The euro area consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. (