French consumers still spending

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

PARIS (BBC) -- Clothing sales bounced back in France in June, helping consumer spending grow by more than expected, according to the French statistics office INSEE.

Consumer spending rose by 1.6% compared with the previous month, as spending on textiles and leather goods rose 8.3% following May's 10% fall. The three-month figures are less rosy, with overall household spending rising just 0.1% between April and June. France has been relying on household spending to make up for weak exports. ""It's not really good,"" said Nicolas Bouzou. ""It's true that it's better than May but the increase in June is explained largely by the increase in textiles and clothing which is very volatile,"" he added. The French economy is lagging behind in the European recovery, which is being led by Germany - something that the new French president Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to tackle. --------------Optimistic Italians Meanwhile, consumer confidence in Italy edged up in July, according to the economic research institute ISAE. The seasonally adjusted index hit 107.4 in July, up from 107.2 in June. The improvement was attributed to an increase in optimism about the job market. ""It's a relatively good development as we move into the third quarter of the year that confidence is keeping up good momentum,"" said Susana Garcia from Deutsche Bank.