LUXEMBOURG - Preliminary statistics released today have found that the Baltics states have suffered the largest decreases in retail sales in the EU over the past year.
The study - which was conducted by Eurostat, the European Union's official statistics agency - found that of the countries for which data is currently available, Latvia had the largest decrease in retail sales.
Latvia saw a staggering 30.9 percent decrease in retail activity in September 2009 as compared to a year before. Latvia was followed by Lithuania with a 25.7 percent drop, then Estonia at 20.8 percent lower, the statistics agency said.
The drop in retail sales represents a massive loss in confidence on the part of consumers in the Baltics. Decreased retail activity will make economic recovery much more difficult for the three countries, which are suffering some of the worst recessions in Europe.
Poland was the top performer, with an increase in retail sales of 5.4 percent. Poland was followed by Austria, which had a 3.1 percent increase.