Italian retail sales disappoint again

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Italian consumers continued to avoid the shops in August, with retail sales statistics defying expectations of a return to growth.

Retail sales declined 0.2 per cent on an annual basis, and fell 0.1 per cent from the previous month. The result marks the second consecutive month of disappointment, after sales were also lower than expected in July.

Economists had expected a much more positive 0.4 per cent rise in the month, and a return to a year on year rise.

Italian shoppers’ pessimism contrasts with their neighbours in France, where consumer confidence has returned to a recent nine-year high.

Italy’s economic recovery was already stalling in the first half of the year, and businesses are now facing additional uncertainty as the country approaches a key referendum on constitutional reform.

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