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Latest Markit Eurozone Retail PMI® survey data showed the continuation of contrasting trends in sales performance across the bloc's big-three retail sectors, with a further sharp drop in sales in Italy offsetting steady growth across Germany and France.
At 48.9 in July, the headline Markit Eurozone Retail PMI - which tracks month-on-month changes in likefor-like retail sales in the bloc's biggest three economies combined - was below the neutral 50.0 mark for the fourth time in the past five months in July, signalling a further, albeit slightly slower (48.5 in June), drop in sales.
Measured on an annual basis, the rate of decline was slightly faster than that recorded in June. Phil Smith, economist at Markit which compiles the Eurozone Retail PMI survey, said: "While German and French retailers are enjoying periods of steady sales growth, their counterparts in Italy have endured back-to-back steep decreases in sales of the likes not seen for over two-and-a-half years.
However, survey evidence points to the tentative renaissance in the French retail sector being supported by the widespread use of promotional offers, which was reflected in a notable deterioration in gross margins. Germany remains the brightest light, with sales rising for the sixth month running and up sharply on a year-on-year basis."