Eurozone Retail Sales Edge Lower in March

Eurozone retailers registered a decline in like-for-like sales in March as gains in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, were offset by reductions in Italy and France, survey data has shown. The Markit Eurozone Retail Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – which tracks month-on-month changes in like-for-like retail sales in the bloc’s biggest three economies combined – fell to 49.5 in March, from 49.9 in February, signaling a slight decline in sales. Readings of 50 and above indicate expansion while those below denote contraction.

Italian retail companies registered a 15th successive decline in like-for-like sales during March, with the rate of contraction the most marked since September last year. Monthly sales dropped in France, ending a three-month period of expansion and sales were up in Germany, according to the survey data. The data also indicated that retailers had under-performed with actual sales falling short of targets. The largest gap between forecast and actual sales was registered in Italy, according to the report.

By Stephen Holmes