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Spanish retail sales' recovery edges up in August

·1-min read
A woman adjusts her face mask as she walks out of a store advertising going-out-of-business sales, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid
A woman adjusts her face mask as she walks out of a store advertising going-out-of-business sales, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish retail monthly sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in August, the National Statistics Institute said on Tuesday, though activity has still not reached pre-lockdown levels.

Retail sales increased by 1.8% month-on-month in August after a 1.2% increase in July and a sharp rebound in May and June as Spain eased its coronavirus restrictions.

Still, calendar-adjusted sales were 2.4% below year-ago levels, the data showed, improving from a 3.9% drop seen in July and far healthier than the double-digit declines logged between March and May.

Sales at large chain stores rose 2.3% year-on-year, while other types of shop continued to register slight declines.

Consumer activity has recovered much of the ground lost since April, when the government enforced one of Europe's strictest lockdowns, confining Spaniards to their houses and triggering a 31.6% year-on-year slump in retail sales.

But the recovery has not been felt equally across the country. Tourism-dependent regions such as the Balearic and Canary Islands continued to struggle, registering year-on-year retail sales declines of 15.3% and 14.2%, respectively, the INE said.

Demand in August rose across all product categories except food, while houseshold goods, which include furniture and appliances, remained the best performing category, with August sales jumping 5.9% from July levels. In June, furniture manufacturers were overwhelmed by demand after sales boomed at the end of lockdown.

(Reporting by Joao Manuel Mauricio in Gdansk and Nathan Allen in Madrid; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Belen Carreno)