Spain: Retail sales growth moderates slightly in February
Retail sales growth continued to hum along in February, moderating marginally from January but suggesting steady household spending amid solid labor gains and low borrowing costs. Retail sales were up 2.2% in year-on-year terms in February, coming in slightly below the downwardly revised 2.4% increase recorded in January (previously reported: +2.5% year-on-year). Although the national economy has withstood political noise stemming from Catalonia’s attempt at gaining independence, the region’s performance is showing signs of fatigue, with sales contracting 0.8% in February (January: +1.3% yoy).
February’s resilient figure was the result of a pick-up in food sales as well as faster growth in household and personal equipment purchases, which largely offset weaker sales in all other main categories. On a distribution-based classification, sales were softer in single retail stores and small chain stores, which more than offset slightly stronger sales in large chain and department stores.
Annual average growth in retail sales recorded a back-to-back expansion in February, rising to a seven-month high of 1.3% in February from 0.9% in January.