Euro zone retail sales flat in April, with weaker food, fuel sales

BRUSSELS (Reuters): Retail sales in the euro zone were unchanged in April, Eurostat said on Tuesday, as consumers spent less on food and car fuel, but increased purchases of other products, particularly online.

Retail sales volumes in the 20 nations sharing the euro currency was at the same level as in March and was 2.6 per cent lower year-on-year.

That compared with average forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists of a 0.2pc monthly rise and a 3.0pc decline from a year earlier.

Consumption has been weak all year as real incomes fall and households are now spending a larger part of their incomes on expensive energy and on credit and mortgage repayments, eroding demand for others goods.

Households have also increased their savings because of higher rates and as a precaution at a time of low economic growth.

Food, drink and tobacco sales fell by 0.5pc from the previous month and car fuel sales by 2.3pc. Non-food sales rose by 0.5pc, with online sales up 2.7pc. Compared with a year earlier, all sales categories were weaker.