Consumers in the Eurozone managed to flock towards the shops with lockdowns being eased in May, according to the EU statistics agency on Monday June 6.
This signalled a very sharp recovery of sales throughout May, from the record drops in March and April.
Sales in the Eurozone rose by an astounding 17.8% in May from April, with this being the largest increase since the recording of Eurozone retail sales records began back in 1999.
This rise was significantly higher than the market expectations of a 15% rise during the month.
When compared to the previous year, sales were still down by 5.1% in May, proving that the recovery in sales is still far from being fully completed.
The month-on-month rise in May slightly offsets the records falls that were posted during the two months before, with the volume of retail trade falling by 12.1% during April, and by 10.6% in March.
The area of retail sales most hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the clothing and footwear retail industry, managed to post a 147% increase in May from the previous month, yet it was still 50.5% lower year-on-year.
Other significant rises were in the purchasing of fuel for cars, which increased by 38.4%, as well as the trade for electrical goods and furniture, which surged up by 37.9%.
A market that was mainly positively affected by the pandemic, that of online sales, managed to keep on rising in May, and during the month rose by 7%.
The real question comes in the third quarterly, when the Eurozone economy starts to adapt to the new normal posed by the COVID-19 situation.
Malta, one of the least hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, managed to record a 11.4% increase in retail sales in May from April, a relatively low increase considering that the April 24.3% decline was the third highest in all of the Eurozone, after Cyprus’ 30.3% and Greece’s 25.6% declines.
However, it is important to note that the Maltese retail market did not suffer as much as other foreign markets did during March, recording just a 1.3% decrease in retail sales. Cyprus suffered from a 3.1% decrease in retail sales in March, whilst Greece had a staggering 15.6% decrease in retail sales during that same month.