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The end of the third quarter saw a slight drop in retail sales in the euro area, meaning that sales have now fallen in three of the past four months. Italy remained the weakest performer of the 'big-three', although France saw a renewed downturn and growth slowed in Germany.
The headline Markit Eurozone Retail PMI - which tracks month-on-month changes in like-for-like retail sales in the bloc's biggest three economies combined - dipped to 49.6 in September, down from August's ten-month high of 51.0. Retailers also reported that sales were lower than during same month one year earlier, with the rate of decline on an annual basis being the fastest seen since April.
Phil Smith, economist at IHS Markit which compiles the Eurozone Retail PMI survey, said: "The headline Eurozone Retail PMI moved back into contraction territory in September, meaning that the sector has gone at least a full calendar year without successive increases in sales. A relapse in French retail sales following four months of growth was the main factor behind the downturn at the end of the third quarter, though the worst overall performance was again seen Italy. The picture in Germany remained one of moderate growth, albeit with some sales coming at the expense of lower margins."
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