Eurozone retail sales fall for second consecutive month

Man walking past grocery shop in Spain Spain saw the biggest fall in retail sales in the eurozone

Retail sales across the eurozone have fallen for the second month in a row in March, according to the European Union statistics agency Eurostat.

The volume of sales fell 0.1% on the month, after a 0.2% drop in February.

The year-on-year reading showed a worse-than-expected 2.4% drop, underlining fears about the eurozone's economic growth in recent months.

Eurostat said that there was a fall in spending on items such as clothes and computers in the 17-nation euro bloc.

Last week the European Commission forecast that euro-area growth would shrink by 0.4% during 2013, down from 0.3% forecast in February.

The figures underline the bloc's struggle with record joblessness and limited economy growth.

According to the Eurostat data, Spain saw the biggest fall, with retail sales down 10.5% compared with the same month last year.

Weak consumer spending is a concern for the European Central Bank, which lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.5% last week.

Unemployment across the eurozone is expected to hit an average of 12.2% this year.

There have been growing calls for countries to ease up on austerity measures, amid fears that stringent budget cuts are hindering growth.

On Monday, France's finance minister Pierre Moscovici said that the dogma of austerity was over.

He told French radio that a more "responsible attitude" to austerity budget cuts was now in place.

More on This Story

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month

Programmes

  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    Simulated world - how architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.