Mike Shedlock

As expected (in this corner but certainly not from economic cheerleaders masquerading as economists), eurozone retail sales are plunging across the board, even in Germany. Let's take a look at a few key reports.


The Markit France Retail PMI shows sharpest drop in sales for six months.

Key Points:

  • Sales down markedly on both monthly and annual measures
  • Targets missed to greatest extent in series history
  • Purchasing activity falls at sharpest rate since July 2012 


The French retail sector was caught in a deepening downturn during February. Sales fell sharply on both a monthly and annual basis, while there was a survey-record shortfall versus previously set plans. Retailers’ gross margins continued to be squeezed by a combination of higher purchasing costs and strong competitive pressures. Stock levels and employment meanwhile both declined. The headline Retail PMI® registered 44.3 during February. The latest reading was down from 47.0 in January, and signalled the steepest month-on-month drop in sales since August 2012.

Gross margins in the French retail sector decreased further in February. The rate of contraction was marked and the sharpest since last October. Survey respondents indicated that margins had been squeezed by a combination of intense competitive pressures and higher purchasing costs.


The Markit Italy Retail PMI shows Retail sector remains firmly in contraction.

Key points:

  • Monthly rate of decline in sales slowest since last September, though still steep overall
  • Slowest decline in employment for two-and-a-half years
  • Further substantial drop in stock levels

Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for Sitka Pacific Capital Management.