European retail sales fell in March as rising fuel, utility and food prices left shoppers with less money to spend, the Bloomberg purchasing managers index showed. The gauge of sales growth in the euro region declined to a seasonally adjusted 48.2 from 52.4 in February. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. Sales also fell from 2007, according to the index, which is based on a survey of more than 1,000 executives compiled for Bloomberg News by NTC Economics Ltd.
German retailers, meanwhile, saw what appears to be a modest rise in sales for the second successive month, but the rate of increase was down slightly on the six-month high seen in February and weaker than that posted in France (the index fell from 52.1 to 51.5). Strong growth of sales in the food& drink sector sustained the overall index above 50.0.
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