Retail sales in the Eurozone’s three biggest economies increased during December at the fastest year-on-year rate since May 2008, according to a new study.
Research company Markit found that sales in Germany, France and Italy during the last month have been the ninth highest it has recorded since starting to collect data seven years ago.
Markit’s index score for its Eurozone Retail PMI rose to 52.9 for December compared to 51.3 in November.
Trevor Balchin, senior economist at Markit and author of the Eurozone Retail PMI, said: “The Eurozone Retail PMI built upon November’s upward movement, rounding off the best quarter in terms of monthly sales growth since Q4 2006.
“The latest data suggest that consumer spending growth will accelerate in the final quarter of 2010, with German consumers leading the way and France appearing to have emerged from protest-related disruption in the autumn.”
Retail employment increased in both Germany and France during the month but job creation was modest across the Eurozone as a whole, and in Italy employment slightly fell.
German sales grew for the third month running and French sales were up for the second consecutive month, and while Italian sales fell they did so at the second slowest rate for 11 months.
Balchin added: “December data reinforced the national variations across the currency bloc, with Germany and France continuing to outperform their southern neighbour Italy.
“That said the rate of decline in retail sales eased sharply in Italy, adding to hopes that the consumer sector will help lift economic growth in the fourth quarter from the meagre 0.3 per cent rise seen in the three months to September.”