BRUSSELS: Retail sales increased in the Eurozone in December last year, as many countries continued to show signs of a gradual economic recovery.

An index compiled by Markit Economics, based on a survey of 1,000 industry executives, climbed to 50.3 points in the final month of 2009, compared with the figure of 48.9 points posted in November.

Overall, a score of more than 50 points indicates that sales are improving, but Trevor Balchin, an economist at Markit, warned that caution remains widespread.

"Turnover was only fractionally better than a year ago when the financial crisis was in full flow. Retailers are understandably pessimistic regarding the short-term outlook," he said.

France and Italy were among the markets recording upticks, but sales fell for the 19 month in a row in Germany, as "consumers remained averse to purchasing non-essential big-ticket items."

Data sourced from Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff