BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone retail sales fell for a second consecutive month in August as spending on food and drink and on online and mail orders decreased, data released on Wednesday showed, mirroring in part a steady decline of consumer sentiment.
Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the single currency slipped by 0.2 percent month-on-month, although were up 1.8 percent year-on-year.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected increases of 0.2 percent during the month and of 1.7 percent year-on-year after July’s decline of 0.6 percent month-on-month and rise of 1.0 percent from a year earlier.
The figures partially mirror a steady weakening of consumer sentiment since hitting a 17-year high at the start of 2018.
The month-on-month decline resulted from a 2.3 percent fall in mail order and internet sales, along with 0.3 percent lower purchases of food, drink and tobacco and a 0.6 percent drop for automotive fuel.
By contrast, online and mail order sales were the strongest component of the year-on-year rise, at 4.9 percent, although this was a far lower increase than in previous months.
Sales of textiles and clothing dropped for a fourth consecutive month. Non-food products as a whole were up 2.9 percent.
On a country-by-country basis, retail sales rose most during the month in Portugal, Ireland and Slovenia and fell by most in Latvia, France and Finland.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)