Valentina Romei in London

A decline in Italy’s retail gross sales ended two months of enchancment to boost fears for the fragility of restoration within the eurozone’s third-biggest economic system that dangers widening the area’s north-south hole.

Gross sales fell 2.2 per cent in July in contrast with the earlier month, marking a setback from June’s 12 per cent growth. The month-to-month determine implies that retail gross sales in July have been 7.2 per cent beneath the identical month final 12 months, official information confirmed on Tuesday.

Current figures “present that the tempo of restoration is more likely to sluggish considerably past the ‘mechanical’ bounce in exercise seen within the third quarter”, mentioned Nicola Nobile, economist at Oxford Economics. “General, we preserve our view that, after the sturdy rebound within the third quarter, the next quarterly beneficial properties within the Italian economic system within the fourth and thru 2021 will likely be rather more modest.”

On-line procuring rose 11.6 per cent as coronavirus-hit shoppers caught at house took to their computer systems to purchase items, the nationwide statistics workplace mentioned. General gross sales dropped nonetheless, whereas meals gross sales have been broadly unchanged from final 12 months.

Non-food items particularly clothes and family home equipment fell, the Italian statistical company Istat mentioned.

“Wanting on the worth of gross sales for non-food merchandise, dramatic falls have been reported throughout all classes,” Istat mentioned.

The setback in Italy’s retail spending raises considerations of a slowdown within the financial restoration after the historic fall in output within the second quarter.

Industrial output is recovering extra shortly than anticipated, however the dominant providers sector is affected by diminished worldwide tourism and fears of unemployment as soon as the federal government’s assist scheme ends.

Information for different European international locations have proven a correction in retail spending in July after a big rebound in June. Germany, the area’s largest economic system, reported a 0.9 per cent drop in gross sales, in contrast with the earlier month.

Nevertheless, in France and Germany, July’s retail gross sales have been stronger than in the identical month final 12 months, whereas for Italy – and to a smaller extent in Spain – the drop got here earlier than reaching pre-pandemic ranges, fuelling considerations that an uneven financial restoration might widen the north-south financial hole.