Euro zone retail sales fell roughly in line with expectations in September, latest data showed, highlighting weak consumer demand and the prospect of recession.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected declines of 0.2% in the month and 3.1% from a year earlier.
The monthly fall was caused mainly by a sharp drop in sales of non-food products, including online sales, both of which fell by 1.9% from August. Automotive fuel sales were also down 0.9%.
Year-on-year, the sales of fuel also declined sharply, as did online purchases.
The euro zone economy shrank by 0.1% in the three months to September, data showed last week, and a key purchasing managers' survey showed the fourth quarter has got off to a poor start.
In the EU, the volume of retail trade declined by 1.8% for non-food products in September, while it increased by 0.1% for automotive fuels and by 1.3% for food, drinks and tobacco, compared to the previous month.
Among member states for which data are available, the largest monthly decreases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Slovakia (-2.0%), Sweden (-1.1%), Germany and the Netherlands (both -0.8%). The highest increases were observed in Slovenia (+1.1%), Poland (+1.0%) and Denmark (+0.9%).
On a year-on-year basis, the retail trade volume decreased by 6.9% for automotive fuels, by 3.2% for non-food products and by 0.9% for food, drinks and tobacco in the EU.
The largest yearly decreases in the total retail trade volume were seen in Slovenia (-17.0%), Belgium (-8.4%) and Hungary (-7.3%). The highest increases were observed in Spain (+7.5%), Cyprus (+4.1%) and Luxembourg (+2.6%).
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM.