Euro zone retail sales rebound more than expected in May

Christmas shoppers wear mask and fill Cologne’s main shopping street Hohe Strasse (High Street) during the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Cologne, Germany, 12, December, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone monthly retail sales rose more than expected in May after a drop in April, driven mostly by purchases of non-food products and car fuel, data released on Tuesday showed.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro increased 4.6% month-on-month in May and were 9.0% higher than a year earlier.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 4.4% monthly rise and forecast a 8.2% year-on-year surge.

In April retail sales fell 3.9% on the month, although they rose 23.3% on the year, Eurostat said on Tuesday.

As the bloc’s economy rebounded with the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, Eurostat said sales of non-food products, excluding fuel for cars, increased in May by 8.8% on the month after a 6.1% plunge in April, and surged 14.8% on the year.

Sales of automotive fuel were 8.1% higher on the month and rose 28.4% year-on-year.

Purchases of food, drinks and tobacco remained largely stable falling slightly by 0.2% on the month and rising by 0.1% on the year.

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