Euro zone retail sales declined by more than expected in September as purchases of all categories fell following a sharp surge in online and clothing sales in August, according to data from Eurostat.
Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell by 2.0% month-on-month in September for a 2.2% year-on-year gain, below economists' expectations of a 1.0% monthly drop and a 2.8% annual increase.
That followed rises of 4.2% month-on-month and 4.4% year-on-year in August.
A Mixed Picture
The new numbers gave a mixed picture for the third quarter of the year, when COVID-19 restrictions eased in most EU countries, with a blow-out August sandwiched between weakness in July and September.
The September sales decline was mainly the result of a 7.6% drop in clothing and textile sales and a 5.5% decline of mail and internet orders, reversing the August trend.
Non-food products as a whole suffered a 2.6% slip in September, while sales of food, drinks and tobacco dropped 1.4% in the month.
Year-on-year, textiles and clothing sales were down the sharpest, while sales of electrical goods and furniture and those done by mail or online have gained the most.