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Retail sales across 17 euro countries rises far more than expected in January

LONDON – Retail sales across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro rose more than expected in January.

Eurstat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said Tuesday that retail sales volumes rose 1.2 per cent from the previous month. That is far stronger than the 0.2 per cent gain many analysts were predicting.

The gain more than makes up for the 0.8 per cent monthly drop recorded in December and may be due to heavy discounting by some retailers after the December holidays.

Across the broader 27-country EU, retail sales rose 0.9 per cent during January.