BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone retail sales increased slightly in April, marking the fourth consecutive monthly rise, as shoppers stepped up their purchases of food and drinks for Easter holidays, estimates released on Tuesday show.
Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro increased by 0.1 percent in April from March, the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said, slightly below the average market expectation of a 0.2 percent rise.
Year-on-year, the volume of retail sales grew 2.5 percent, higher than the 2.3 percent rise forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
The monthly rise in April was offset by a downward revision of March data to a 0.2 percent rise from a previously estimated 0.3 percent increase.
The year-on-year growth of sales for March was revised up to 2.5 percent from the 2.3 percent estimated earlier by Eurostat.
Despite the revision and lower-than-expected growth, it was the fourth consecutive monthly rise, a sign that shoppers seem so far to have been unaffected by the higher inflation in the bloc. It stood at 1.9 percent in April, before falling to 1.4 percent in May, according to Eurostat’s flash estimates.
Retail sales increased mostly for food, drinks and tobacco products in the month containing Easter, with a 0.6 percent month-on-month rise.
Consumers reduced by 0.4 percent their purchases of non-food products, a wide category including clothes and footwear.
Retail sales also went down by 0.8 percent on the month for car fuel, as oil prices increased in April.
Among the largest economies of the euro zone, sales went down by 0.2 percent on the month in Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, and by 0.1 percent in France, while they rose by 0.6 percent in Spain. April data were not available for Italy.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop