European retail sales take a tumble

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The Independent Online

Retailers in the European Union suffered their biggest drop in sales for more than year in April as rising unemployment, stretched household budgets and fears about the recovery hit spending. Retail sales in the 27 EU member states were 1.2 per cent lower in April than in March, and 1.6 per cent lower than in April last year.

The data will fuel fears that large parts of Europe may be heading back into recession. Last week, a report showed that consumer confidence in the region had also slumped. Retail sales fell 2.1 per cent in Spain, but rose by 1 per cent in Germany, suggesting that nations most exposed to the sovereign debt crisis are faring worse.

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