European stocks started the day lower than expected. UK’s FTSE 100 index declined by more than 0.3% after weak retail sales data. Germany’s DAX index as well as Euro STOXX 50 also inched lower. French CAC 40 index remained on a standstill.
UK Economic Concerns
The United Kingdom posted uneven economic data on Friday which dragged the FTSE 100 index. Retail sales volume declined 1.4% MoM from the previous 9.2%. However, the combined volume sales for April and May jumped 7.7% from March. The combined sales were also 9.1% higher than February 2020.
Retail sales were 24.6% higher than last year. However, the retail sales were weaker than the 29.0% forecast and 42.4% lower than the pre-pandemic levels. Large gains in sales volume in April and a slightly small fall in May resulted to the volume of retail sales being 8.3% higher.
Food stores sales volume dragged the retail sales volume after a 5.7% decline. Alcoholic drinks and tobacco dropped 8.4%. On the flipside, non-food stores recorded a 2.3% increase in their monthly sales volume.
Household goods stores recorded the largest growth of 9.0%. Non-food stores were also up by 7.7%. All retail sectors less food stores reported a decline in online sales in May. This is due to the easing of lockdown restrictions hence customers returned to physical stores.
Automotive fuel sales went up by 19.3% while non-food retailers rose 17.8%. Online sales decreased to 28.5% in May 2021 down from 29.8% in April. However, online retail sales in May jumped 58.8% higher than February 2020.
Store sales declined 1.3% compared to February last year. Clothing stores dropped 2.5% while department stores declined 6.7% in May.
FTSE 100 Performers
Renishaw plc opened the markets with the most gains in the FTSE 100 index. The engineering company gained 2.06% in its stock earnings after UK retail sales data. Halma plc gained 1.58% while Fresnillo gained 1.44%. Polymetal International plc rose 1.25% higher.
BT Group plc led the laggards in the index. The telecommunications company fell by 1.75%. Tesco plc and Intermediate Capital Group plc declined by 1.60%. Barclays plc fell by 1.52%.