EU retail trade back to pre-pandemic levels

Eurostat, the European Union’s (EU) statistics agency, said that the bloc’s retail sale in June regained 99.7 per cent of the volume that it had reached in February before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seasonally-adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 5.7 per cent in the euro area in June and by 5.2 per cent in the EU compared with the previous month, Xinhua news agency quoted Eurostat as saying on Wednesday.

The statistics agency also revised its earlier estimate of the retail trade volume to 20.3 per cent increase in the euro area and 18.3 per cent increase in the EU in May.

In March and April, when most of the COVID-19 prevention measures were taken in the EU member states, all non-food product groups showed exceptionally big decreases, in particular the decline for textiles, clothes and footwear was extremely steep.

The two-month loss for automotive fuel was 43.4 per cent, for computers, books and similar products it was 40.7 per cent, and for electrical goods and furniture, 34.5 per cent, said Eurostat.

When the containment measures began to ease in May, sales for all non-food product groups picked up.

With the next increases of sales in June, the pre-crisis level of sales was regained or even exceeded for some product groups.

Sales of textiles, clothing and footwear grew by 20.5 per cent month-on-month in June in the EU, after a record 130.7 per cent jump in May.

Consumers also bought more car fuel, computer equipment and medical goods.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, a total of 1,768,393 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the EU/European Economic Area, while the death toll stood at 183,050.