Activity in the euro area services sector, such as catering, retail and Air Transport, declined in September compared with August. The British market researcher Markit announced this on the basis of definitive figures.
The Markit Purchasing Manager Index, which measures activity in the services sector, reached a final position of 48 before September, compared with 50.5 in August. In an earlier estimate, a level of 47.6 was reported. A position of 50 or more indicates growth, below it indicates shrinkage.
The service sector is facing a head-on from the increasing number of COVID infections in many European countries. The euro area industry did grow in September.
The index for the British services sector was 56.1 in September, from 58.8 in August. On a provisional estimate, a level of 55.1 was reported by Markit.
Retail sales in the euro area increased in August compared to July, when there was still a decline. According to the European statistical office Eurostat, sales increased by 4.4%.
Economists, on average, expected a 2.5% increase in retail sales. In July, there was an updated fall of 1.8%. Sales of shopkeepers increased by 3.8% throughout the European Union last month, following a 1.2% decrease in the previous month.
According to Eurostat, sales of food, beverages and tobacco increased. The sale of so-called non-food products, articles in supermarkets that are not food products, such as cleaning products and toilet paper, also went up, as did the sale of shoes and clothing. More stuff was sold mainly via the internet. Sales of electronics, computers, books and furniture just dropped.