Euro zone retail sales grew at a more moderate rate than expected year-on-year in July as households spent less on clothing than a year earlier, mirroring a steady weakening of consumer sentiment since the start of the year. 

Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the single currency fell by 0.2% month-on-month and rose by 1.1% year-on-year. 

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the same 0.2% drop in July and a 1.3% year-on-year rise after June's increases of 0.3% month-on-month and 1.5% from the same time a year earlier. 

The year-on-year rise was largely the result of a 7.3% increase in mail order and internet sales. 

Sales of textiles and clothing dropped by 1.8%, its sixth decline in the first seven months of the year. Non-food products as a whole were up just 0.9%. 

On a country-by-country basis, retail sales rose most in Lithuania and Ireland and fell by most in Malta and Austria.