Euro zone retail trade weaker than expected in Aug as food sales fall

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask shops at a market in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask shops at a market in Madrid, Spain, May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera

October 6, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone retail sales were weaker than expected in August, data showed on Wednesday, as consumers reined in spending on food, drinks and tobacco.

Retail sales, a proxy for consumer demand, in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.3% month-on-month in August and were unchanged from a year earlier, the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.8% monthly gain and a 0.4% year-on-year increase.

Eurostat said food, drinks and tobacco sales fell 1.7% month-on-month and by 1.9% year-on-year, holding back the overall index even though sales via mail order and internet shot up.

Such sales, which have been strong since the start of the pandemic, rose 9.0% from July after two months of declines and were up 8.5% from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)