LONDON: Retail sales in France and Germany are improving at an impressive rate, but challenges remain for some other European markets.

Markit, the research group, surveyed 1,000 senior retail executives from the 16 countries comprising the Eurozone, a group which includes France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Its index reading of value sales climbed to 52.9 points in December 2010 – where 50 points marks an expansion – measured against a comparative 51.3 points in November.

This constituted the most sizeable increase since mid-2008, and was the ninth highest uptick over the seven years the company has been collecting figures.

German returns grew for the third month in a row, and France delivered a second successive leap.

Elsewhere, while Italy witnessed a further decline, the pace of this contraction did slow slightly.

"December data reinforced the national variations across the currency bloc, with Germany and France continuing to outperform their southern neighbour Italy," said Trevor Balchin, a senior economist at Markit.

"The latest data suggest that consumer spending growth will accelerate in the final quarter of 2010, with German consumers leading the way and France appearing to have emerged from protest-related disruption in the autumn."

Data sourced from The Herald; additional content by Warc staff