French consumer spending fell the most in nearly two years in November as unseasonably warm weather held back energy and clothing purchases. As David Pollard reports, the retail sector across Europe is also suffering from the unseasonal weather.
You might not normally want to be doing this in December in Paris. And certainly not in a T-shirt. Unless it's December 2015 - when record after weather record is being smashed. Temperatures regularly in the mid-teens centigrade. Prompting some visitors to be unusually candid about what they're wearing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN TOURIST, ANDREAS, SAYING: "I've got no t-shirt under this! I'm only wearing a shirt and a small jacket, and that's it!" Winter woolies purchases are one victim of the mild weather. French consumer spending another - it fell by 1.1 per cent last month as energy consumption and clothes shopping slumped. Across Europe, retailers are struggling to catch up. CMC's Jasper Lawler. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "It could mean they're stuck with a bunch of stock that they can't shift. And they'll be hoping for a last-minute pick-up in sales before Christmas." If that appears. Last week, H&M talked of a negative effect across North America and Europe for the world's second-biggest fashion retailer. Its poor sales figures led to several share downgrades. Latest numbers from UK department store chain, John Lewis, showed a 7 per cent rise on the year for the same week. Largely driven by a jump in online. It, perhaps, one of the lucky ones. ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "There's been this huge, huge price war among retailers. We've seen that generally happening not just in food areas, but across the sector and profit margins have been squeezed very significantly, and chances are that that will continue into the New Year." Gadgets and electronics are doing well as consumers shift their Christmas buying habits. And, who know, perhaps gardening clothes might enjoy a surge. This a green Christmas rather than a white one.