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.

Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the single currency slipped by 0.2% month-on-month, although they were up 1.8% year-on-year. 

Economists polled by Reuters had expected increases of 0.2% during the month and of 1.7% year-on-year after July's decline of 0.6% month-on-month and rise of 1% 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% fall in mail order and internet sales, along with 0.3% lower purchases of food, drink and tobacco and a 0.6% drop for automotive fuel. 

By contrast, online and mail order sales were the strongest component of the year-on-year rise, at 4.9%, 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%. 

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.