European retail sales up sharply in Jan: data

Retail sales in the EU and eurozone both rose in January compared with December, snapping back after a poor showing in what is traditionally a strong month, official data showed Tuesday.

Retail sales by volume in the 17-nation eurozone jumped 1.2 percent in January after a fall of 0.8 percent in December, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

For the wider 27-member European Union, retails rose 0.9 percent after dropping 0.7 percent in December, it said.

Compared with January 2012, eurozone retail sales were down 1.3 percent and in the EU, down 0.9 percent.

The biggest monthly increases were recorded in Portugal and Poland, both up 4.2 percent, while Germany, Europe's biggest economy, gained 3.1 percent, all after sharp falls in December.

Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight said the January upturn was "impressive looking ... but it does little to change the perception that consumers across the eurozone are generally reluctant to spend and are likely to remain so.

"The main hope is that German consumers continue to spend over the coming months after opening their wallets and purses in January, and this helps other eurozone countries," Archer said.