Spain: Retail sales growth loses traction in March
Retail sales growth lost some momentum in the final month of the first quarter, partially the result of a strong base effect. Retail sales were up 1.5% in year-on-year terms in March, below the downwardly revised 2.1% increase recorded in February (previously reported: +2.2% year-on-year). Despite the deceleration, low borrowing costs and steady employment growth continue to support households’ disposable income, which bodes well for retail sales growth this year.
March’s deceleration largely represented a weaker expansion in food sales and slower growth in sales of household equipment goods. Sales of personal equipment goods rose at a steady clip in March, while sales across all other categories contracted 1.2% in March, which followed February’s 1.7% expansion. On a distribution-based classification, sales at single retail stores recorded a sizeable contraction, while small chain and department stores recorded weaker sales growth. Purchases at large chain stores, however, logged a faster year-on-year expansion from the previous month in March.
Annual average growth was steady in March at February’s seven-month high of 1.3%.