Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 11:31 UK

Eurozone retail sales post fall

Woman speaks on her phone next to currency exchange signs
Higher unemployment is adding to consumer uncertainty

Retail sales in countries that use the euro fell more than expected in May, a further sign that consumers are still limiting their spending, data shows.

Eurozone retail sales fell 0.4%, month-on-month, reversing April's 0.1% rise. On a yearly basis the drop in May was 3.3%, according to Eurostat figures.

As a whole, European member states that don't use the euro, including the UK and Sweden, saw sales fall 0.5%.

Individuals are cutting their spending as job losses continues to rise.

The latest figures suggest the chance of a consumer-led recovery is not likely soon.

"There was further confirmation today, if any were needed, that domestic demand is not set to ride to the rescue of the euro area economy any time soon," said Colin Ellis, economist at Daiwa Securities.

Sales of non-food items fell 0.6% last month, and by 3.4% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The April retail figure was revised down to 0.1% from an initial reading of 0.2%.

Earlier this week, figures showed the rate of eurozone inflation turned negative in June for the first time since the single currency was introduced in 1999.

Prices in the 16-nation zone fell 0.1% in the past year, Eurostat said. The inflation rate had been 0% in May.

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