Retail sales in the eurozone experienced a slower decline in September, indicating that lower price increases are boosting consumer spending in the 20-member union.
According to data from European Union statistics body Eurostat, trade fell by 0.3% compared to the previous month. While this was slightly worse than the forecasted 0.2% drop, it should be noted that August's figures were revised to a 0.7% decline, down from the previously reported 1.2% fall. Since January, sales have either stagnated or steadily declined, with September being the first month to show a slower pace of decline.
This deceleration suggests that less severe price inflation is alleviating the financial pressure on eurozone consumers. In September, prices rose by 4.3% compared to over 5% in the previous month, and inflation continued to decrease notably in October. A potential recovery in retail trade, especially during the crucial Christmas shopping season, could provide some relief for the eurozone economy, which has been impacted by weak demand and production, and potentially facing a minor recession during the winter.
In terms of specific categories, sales of food, drink, and tobacco rebounded in September, increasing by 1.4% after a previous drop. Conversely, fuel sales and e-commerce sales declined on a monthly basis. Overall, sales were 2.9% lower compared to the same period last year.
The performance across major economies within the bloc varied. Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands experienced declining trade, while France and Spain saw minor increases.