Europeans to spend less on Christmas as growth remains elusive; Greeks restraining spending by 13 pct

Europeans will spend 3 percent less on Christmas this year as the euro region struggles to grow and unemployment remains high, a study showed.

On average, Europeans will lay out 488 euros ($608) on gifts, food and drinks and leisure activities for the late December holiday, Deloitte LLP said Thursday its annual survey. Only shoppers in Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Germany will spend more this year, according to the consultant, which polled more than 17,000 adults in 17 countries last month.

Years after the sovereign-debt crisis rocked the region, the 18-nation euro area is still struggling to expand. Across the bloc, growth has ground to a halt. The region’s biggest consumer companies from Unilever to SABMiller Plc have reported results that trailed estimates amid lackluster spending at home.

“The euro area is still vulnerable,” Deloitte said in the study. “In this difficult context, household confidence is put to the test.”

Consumers in Greece are restraining their spending by 13 percent, the study found, as they cut back on everything from gifts to going out. Polish shoppers, on the other hand, are spending an additional 29 percent on gifts. [Bloomberg]

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