By Xavier Fontdegloria
Retail sales in Spain fell sharply in December as Covid-19 cases rose and the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and high inflation hit consumer spending.
Retail store sales fell 5.9% in seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms in December from the previous month, according to data from the national statistics office, INE, released on Monday.
The December drop follows a 5.6% rise from November and marks the largest drop since January 2021. In December, Omicron caused a spike in infections across the country and restrictions were reimposed in several regions.
On an annual basis, retail sales fell 2.3% in seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms, the INE said.
Spain’s gross domestic product increased by 2% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter. Growth should have slowed at the start of the year, according to economists.
The Spanish economy has been among the hardest hit in the Eurozone by the Covid-19 pandemic, with GDP falling by 10.8% in 2020. While employment has already exceeded 2019 levels, the he economy is about 4% smaller than its pre-pandemic size, still well below the numbers seen in other major eurozone economies.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at [email protected]