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Euro-Area Retail Sales Fall More Than Forecast, Led by Spain

European retail sales declined more than economists forecast in April as the worsening debt crisis prompted consumers from Spain to Austria to cut spending.

Sales dropped 1 percent from March, when they advanced 0.3 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast a drop of 0.1 percent, according to the median of 23 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, April sales fell 2.5 percent.

European companies are relying on faster-growing economies to bolster sales as the euro area’s deepening slump erodes consumer confidence and curbs spending. Prada SpA, the Italian fashion company that owns the Miu Miu brand, said on May 24 that it plans to add 260 stores in emerging markets such as Brazil and China in the next three years.

German retail sales advanced 0.6 percent in April from the previous month, when they rose 1.6 percent, today’s report showed. In Spain, sales fell 2.4 percent from March, when they decreased 0.5 percent, while Portugal saw a 2.1 percent drop in the latest month.

Austria reported a 3.5 percent fall in April, while French sales declined 1.5 percent. The statistics office didn’t release data for Greece or Italy.

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