Euro zone retail sales declined by more than expected in September as purchases of all categories fell following a sharp surge in online and clothing sales in August, data showed today. 

Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell by 2% month-on-month in September for a 2.2% year-on-year gain, below economists' expectations of a 1% monthly drop and a 2.8% annual increase. 

That followed rises of 4.2% month-on-month and 4.4% year-on-year in August. 

The new numbers gave a mixed picture for the third quarter of the year, when Covid-19 restrictions eased in most EU countries, with a blow-out August sandwiched between weakness in July and September. 

The September sales decline was mainly the result of a 7.6% drop in clothing and textile sales and a 5.5% decline of mail and internet orders, reversing the August trend.

Non-food products as a whole suffered a 2.6% slip in September, while sales of food, drinks and tobacco dropped 1.4% in the month. 

Textiles and clothing sales saw the sharpest declines on an annual basis, while sales of electrical goods and furniture and those done by mail or online have gained the most.