November saw an eighth consecutive monthly rise in like-for-like sales at eurozone retailers, thereby extending the longest period of growth seen since 2006. Rates of expansion quickened in Germany and France, while monthly retail sales fell slightly in Italy, reversing the trend seen in the previous two months.
The latest data paint a generally robust picture of the eurozone retail sector, with sales up on both a monthly and annual basis, rises in purchasing activity and employment, combined with the strongest degree of business confidence since early-2016.
Actual sales at eurozone retailers continued to fall short of previously-set plans midway through the final quarter of the year. The degree of the shortfall was the weakest since June but remained marked overall. The gap between actual and predicted sales widened in Italy, while it closed in France and Germany.
Gross margins faced by eurozone retailers were squeezed further in November. The rate of decline was the softest recorded since June, but remained marked nonetheless. Contractions were recorded in each of the „big-three‟ eurozone economies, with the sharpest in Italy.
In line with the trend for gross margins, eurozone retailers continued to be faced with rising input costs in November. Although weakening from October‟s 57-month peak, the rate of inflation remained marked and greater than the long-run series average. Prices rose to the greatest extent in Germany, followed by Italy and then France.
Source: Markit economics, https://www.markiteconomics.com