Eurelia "Barometer" survey: sales fall in Portugal and France
What's the final assessment of 2014? Eurelia, the European Federation of International Retailers, in partnership with the French federation Procos, has shown a certain degree of optimism, with 6 out of the 8 markets observed making progress. Only Portugal and France showed slight declines over the year.
In France, in December, retail business rebounded to finish at 2.2% compared to December 2013 on a comparable basis, according to the monthly panel survey conducted by Procos (i.e. 50 chains store questioned about their performance in 50 sites located in 15 urban areas).
Nevertheless, the annual year-end figure of -0.6% reflects the difficulties in getting back to the pre-crisis performance levels as recorded in 2009.
In Portugal, the year ended slightly down, as did 2013; only the household equipment sector recorded growth.
The situation in Germany is surprising. The economy there showed positive indicators but domestic consumption remains a weak point so far. Is the stagnation in sales due to consumer caution or because of competition from the likes of Internet pure players?
Reassuring news comes from Spain, where its recovery has been confirmed, as well as in Poland, which has made progress - less impacted by than fearful of the crisis in Russia.
In Spain, the upturn in sales as observed since late 2013 has been confirmed. Last year ended with a good December (+3.3%) with the year ending with a positive cumulative figure - which had not happened for over 5 years. However, this much-awaited sign shouldn't cause one to forget the fragility of the situation, according to Eurelia, with high unemployment and falling salaries, not to mention political and economic issues.
In Italy, indicators were positive. After two flat years and one ending with a negative result, the Italian market is producing an unexpected slight upturn. Sales were supported by promotions. Hope for brands lies in the fact that "bricks and mortar" stores remain popular with Italian consumers.
In Belgium, the positive news came from the prime shopping streets of the main shopping towns of Brussels and Antwerp, while shopping centers appeared a bit more sluggish, both in terms of results and numbers of visitors.
In Switzerland, the second consecutive year of stable results accompanies uncertainty regarding the impact of the lifting of the cap on the Swiss franc.
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