According to the latest estimates from Eurostat, the seasonally-adjusted volume of retail trade in the Eurozone fell by 1.2% in March compared to February, while the retail trade volume in the European Union dropped by 1.1%. These figures show a significant drop from February, when the retail trade volume decreased by only 0.2% in the Eurozone and by 0.3% in the EU.
The retail sales index, adjusted for calendar differences, saw a year-on-year drop of 3.8% in the Eurozone and 4.1% in the EU. This was a sharp decline from the previous year when there was a growth of 2.7% in retail sales in the Eurozone and 2.5% in the EU.
Among the member states, the largest monthly decreases in the total retail trade volume were observed in Latvia (2.7%), Germany, Poland (both 2.4%), and Luxembourg (1.9%). On the other hand, Romania (2.9%), Portugal (2.3%), and Ireland (1%) witnessed the highest increases.
Non-food products saw a YoY decrease of 2.2% in the Eurozone and a decrease of 3.2% in the EU in March. Among the member states for which data are available, Estonia (13.5%), Hungary (13.2%), and Slovenia (12.8%) saw the largest YoY decreases in the total retail trade volume. Spain (10.8%), Romania (7.2%), and Cyprus (5.6%) witnessed the highest increases.
The decline in retail sales could be attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disruptions in the global supply chain and the closure of several non-essential businesses. The pandemic has also resulted in lockdowns and restrictions on movements, leading to a decline in consumer demand for non-essential items.
Overall, the decline in retail sales in the Eurozone and EU is a cause for concern, especially since the retail sector is a vital component of the economy. The European Central Bank and the national governments will need to continue to implement policies that will support the retail sector’s recovery.