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

  • Two sphinxes guarding the entrance to the tombTomb mystery

    Secrets of ancient burial site keep Greeks guessing


  • The chequeBig gamble

    How does it feel to bet £900,000 on the Scottish referendum?


  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos


  • Deepika PadukoneBeauty and a tweet

    Bollywood cleavage row shows India's 'crass' side


  • Relief sculpture of MithrasRoman puzzle

    How to put London's mysterious underground temple back together


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.