LONDON, UK – Gift Horse sculpture by Hand Hacke, with National Gallery in the background, in Trafalgar Square. March 06, 2015 in London. The artwork shows live FTSE 100 tick in its ribbon.

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%.

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