The Bloomberg Eurozone Retail Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI®) rose from 53.4 in March to 54.6 in April. The PMI is an indicator based on a mid-month survey of economic conditions in the euro area retail sector, providing data a month ahead of government figures.
The PMI has risen continually since hitting a near 2-year low in January, and signaled the steepest monthly rise in sales for 10 months in the latest survey period.
The overall increase in month-on-month sales occurred despite variations in national performance.
France saw the strongest rise in retail sales among the euro area's three largest countries for the third successive month. Moreover, the rate of growth was the strongest for 10 months and the second sharpest seen since the survey began at the start of 2004 (the index rose from 56.8 to 58.6).
Germany saw sales continue to recover from the slump caused by the VAT increase at the start of the year, rising strongly in April to register the sharpest gain for 5 months (the index rose from 52.8 to 55.6).
Italy, in in contrast, saw sales fall at a faster rate. The index dropped from 49.6 to 47.5, recording the steepest fall in sales since last October and the second successive monthly fall. Retailers blamed low consumer confidence and intense competition for the deterioration.
Compared to a year ago, Eurozone retail sales rose at the strongest pace recorded by the survey to date in April. The year-on-year index was up for the third month in a row from 56.3 in March to a record high of 58.4.
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