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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
French hit the shops again
French boulangerie
French shoppers were out in force in June
French consumer spending surged 1.5% higher in June compared with May, reversing declines in the previous two months.

And the index was 2.7% higher than the previous year.

French consumer spending, June 2001
retail sector +1.5%
cars +2%
textiles +4.6%
total +1.5%
The rebound was way ahead of the 0.6% increase in a poll of economists ahead of the news.

A rush of shopping for new clothes and cars helped buoy the rises.

The surge offers hope that the sturdy domestic demand will help the eurozone's second largest economy weather the global economic downturn.

In Europe, Germany is now being hardest hit by the deepening slowdown in the US and Japan.

Demand for clothes and cars

In France spending on manufactured goods was boosted by a strong rebound in car sales.

Spending on cars rose 2% in June after a fall of 0.7% in May.

And the traditional summer clothes sales, together with good weather, boosted textile sales by 4.6% in June after a slide of 1.2% in May.

But some analysts were cautious of reading too much economic optimism into the data.

"The textiles figure is always volatile. But, basically, French households had nothing left to wear and went out to buy again," said Stephane Deo, an economist at UBS Warburg in Paris.

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See also:

29 Jun 01 | Business
France's jobless rises again
07 Jun 01 | Business
France prepares for funding showdown
03 Jul 01 | Business
French consumer confidence tumbles
01 Jun 01 | Business
French shoppers lose their nerve
27 Apr 01 | Business
French economy outshines Germany
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