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Eurozone retail sales flat in December

February 03, 2010 | The Associated Press

Retail sales in the 16 countries that use the euro were flat in December from the previous month, official figures showed Wednesday-a further sign that consumers in the eurozone remain reluctant to spend despite the end of the recession.

The figure published by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, was well below market expectations for a 0.5 percent increase. On a year-on-year basis, sales were down 1.6 percent.

The figures suggest the recovery from recession in the eurozone will be slow. So far, the modest economic growth being recorded has been largely due to a pick-up in global trade volumes, which has boosted exports, particularly in Germany, the single currency bloc's largest economy.

Analysts say that domestic demand will need to take a bigger role for the pace of recovery to accelerate.

In the wider EU, which includes non-euro members such as Britain and Sweden, retail sales slipped by 0.1 percent during the month, for a 1 percent year-on-year decline.

Over 2009 as a whole, retail sales fell 2.3 percent in the eurozone and by 1.7 percent in the EU.

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