It seems eurozone motorists – worried about high prices and the region’s slide into recession – spent less on fuel during the normally busy summer driving months.
That pulled down overall retail sales in the 17 countries using the euro during August.
Retail spending rose just 0.1 percent in the month compared to July.
Demonstrating how the eurozone’s debt crisis is hurting the bloc’s wealthier economies, retail sales volumes fell 0.8 percent in France and showed no growth in Belgium. In Germany sales rose just 0.3 percent, month-on-month.
Retail trade was down 0.8 percent in Germany on an annual basis and by 1.4 percent in Belgium, while sales volumes plummeted six percent in bailout recipient Portugal, which is struggling through its deepest recession since the 1970s. Data was not available for Greece.