POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Virus dampens Lux retail sales by 16% in March



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March 2020 food sales jumped by 20% in Luxembourg (compared to the previous month). Photo by George Huffman on Unsplash 

The covid-19 lockdown that began in mid-March had a notably negative impact on the sales at retailers in the grand duchy and across Europe that month.

Retail turnover in Luxembourg was down by 12.7% in March 2020, compared to March 2019, per Eurostat, the EU’s statistics bureau.

The month-over-month contraction was more severe. Luxembourg (-16.4%) recorded the third largest decrease in total retail trade volume in the EU between February 2020 and March 2020, behind only Bulgaria (-18.1%) and France (-17.4%).

The only EU member state to register positive growth was Ireland (+0.1%), although figures were not released for 5 EU countries (the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the Netherlands).

“In the EU, the volume of retail trade decreased by 21.3% for non-food products and by 19.3% for automotive fuels, while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 4.7%,” Eurostat said on 6 May. Taken together, retail trade was down by 10.4% across the bloc.

The biggest month-over-month increase in food, drink and tobacco sales was found in Luxembourg (+20%), followed by Ireland (+14%) and Belgium (+13%), according to Eurostat. Luxembourg (-35%) also logged the largest decreases in non-food product (excluding automotive fuel) volumes, ahead of France and Spain (both -33%).

Across the entire EU, supermarket sales surged by 4.4% and department store turnover tumbled by 17.8%. Internet trade was up by 2.2% in March 2020, compared to February 2020, Eurostat stated on 7 May.