Euro zone retail sales eased in December, pulled down mainly by a lower volume of sold fuel and clothes, data from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat showed.

Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 1.1% month-on-month in December against a 2% rise in November and against market expectations of a 1% decline.

In year-on-year terms, retail sales rose 1.9%, as expected, a sharp slowdown from a 3.9% year-on-year rise in the previous month.

The monthly numbers were mainly affected by a 1.5% decline in the volume of sold automotive fuel and a 3.3% fall in the volume of sold clothes and shoes.

Year-on-year a 0.8% decline in sold fuel as well as a lower rise in the volume of sold food drinks and tobacco were behind the slowdown.