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French retail sales fall for fourth month running

French retailFrench retailers reported a further decrease in sales during February. The latest drop was the fourth in as many months.

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Sales were also down considerably on an annual basis, with the rate of decline accelerating to the sharpest since March 2015. Actual sales once again disappointed relative to retailers’ previously set plans, although optimism was signalled regarding the one-month outlook.

Purchasing of goods for resale fell further, with the rate of contraction the sharpest in 11 months. This did not prevent another fractional increase in inventories, however.

Wholesale prices rose at the slowest rate for ten months, while employment fell slightly during the latest survey period. The seasonally adjusted headline France Retail PMI registered 48.1 in February.

Down from 48.9 in January, the latest reading pointed to a moderate reduction in sales. Anecdotal evidence suggested that generally weak economic conditions and a lack of consumer purchasing power had continued to weigh on sales.

On a year-on-year basis, sales were down sharply in February. The annual measure pointed to the most marked reduction since March 2015.

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