European retail sales declined more than economists forecast in September as the region’s worsening sovereign-debt crisis prompted households from Ireland to France and Spain to cut spending.
Sales in the 17-nation euro region decreased 0.7 percent from August, when they rose 0.1 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s the biggest decline since May. Economists had forecast a September drop of 0.1 percent, the median of 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Sales slumped 1.5 percent from a year earlier.
Europe’s economy is showing signs of a deepening slump as governments toughen budget cuts, eroding consumer confidence. Finance ministers meet in Brussels today as they try to halt contagion from the debt crisis by bolstering the region’s rescue fund.
With euro-area leaders struggling to counter the fiscal crisis, companies have relied on faster-growing economies to bolster sales. Hermes International SCA, the French maker of Birkin bags, on Nov. 4 raised its full-year targets, led by growth in the Americas and Asia.
In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, September retail sales gained 0.4 percent from August, when they declined 2.7 percent, today’s report showed. French sales fell 0.6 percent, while Spain reported a drop of 1.7 percent in the month.
In Ireland and Portugal, which both received external aid, sales fell 0.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. The statistics office didn’t provide monthly data for Greece or Italy.