ECONOMY

Retail sales decline for second month in a row

Greek retail sales by volume fell 1.2 percent in December compared to the same month a year earlier, after falling 1.3 percent in November, statistics service ELSTAT said on Friday.

Sales volumes had risen for five months in a row through October on a pickup in consumer spending as the economy recovered from a protracted recession.

But a rise in political tensions toward the end of the year hit consumer sentiment.

Retail sales in November were revised to a fall of 1.3 percent from a previous reading of a fall of 1.5 percent.

Greece’s international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, expect the economy to have recovered modestly in 2014 after six years of deep contraction.

National output is projected to have grown 0.6 percent, driven by tourism, investment and exports.

Hit by the country’s deep economic slump and record unemployment, retail sales declined by about 40 percent in 2009-13, driven by austerity policies imposed under the terms of Greece’s 240-billion-euro EU/IMF bailout.

[Reuters]