Hamilton Crawford economists report that euro zone retail sales figures increased by less than anticipated in February as many consumers limited spending on non-food and essential items. Figures from January were also downwardly revised, suggesting a decline in retail sales for the bloc at the beginning of 2018.
Last week, Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics office said that retail sales in the 19 countries that make up the bloc increased by only 0.1 percent on a monthly basis and 1.8 percent on an annual basis.
Hamilton Crawford economists had forecast a rise of 0.5 percent in February and a year on year gain of 2.1 percent.
Eurostat also revised its January figures downwards to -0.3 percent month on month and 1.5 percent year on year. The original growth was thought to be -0.1 percent and 2.3 percent.
Hamilton Crawford economists say that sales of food, beverages and cigarettes expanded in February after a contraction the month before.
While the sales of medical goods and fuel increased during February after decreasing in January, other non-essential goods which included electrical merchandise, furniture and apparel either increased by less than in January or decreased.
Hamilton Crawford analysts also noted that online retail sales, which had reached record highs in November last year, have now declined for the third consecutive month.
Last week, Eurostat also released data on producer prices, revealing a 0.1 percent monthly rise which Hamilton Crawford analysts say was in line with forecasts. Eurostat data also revealed a 1.6 percent annual increase in producer prices which was slightly more than the expected 1.5 percent.