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MNI DATA PREVIEW: EZ Sales Seen Sharply Lower Amid Lockdown

MNI (London)
--Covid-19 Restrictions On Consumers To Hit Sales Bar Food, Pharmacies
     LONDON (MNI) - Retail Sales across the Eurozone are expected to have
plunged in March, with market analysts pencilling a decline of 11.5% m/m as the
Covid-19 related containment measures impacted consumer activity. March's
expected decrease would more than offset the January (+0.7%) and February
(+0.9%) monthly gains.
     State-level data projects a gloomy outlook, with German sales slumping
-5.6% in March as a result of temporary business closures. While sales declined
in most sectors, supermarkets and pharmacies saw monthly gains. 
     Similar developments were observed in France, where sales collapsed by 24%
in March compared to February. March's fall was driven by a severe drop in
industrial goods sales, down by 43.4% m/m, while food sales only cooled by 0.9%
on a monthly basis. Spanish retail sales declined by 15.3% in March with
non-food products slipping by 29.6%.
     The bloc's largest four economies went into lockdown in March with Italy
starting at March 9, followed by Spain on March 14, France on March 16 and
finally Germany at March 22. Containment measures resulted in the temporary
closure of non-essential businesses and shops remained closed throughout most of
April, suggesting another disappointing set of sales data next month.
     According to survey evidence, expectations for the next 12 months are
bleak. March's composite PMI recorded the lowest level on record, while the
German Ifo expectations index for the service sector also recorded a sharp
decline. High uncertainty regarding the length of the containment measures saw
businesses remain pessimistic.
     However, several European countries started to open up their economies at
the end of April and beginning of May, FIGURES May figures should see some
improvement, although the recovery is likely to be gradual.
--MNI London Bureau; +44 0203 865 3814; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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