Euro zone retail sales, a proxy for consumer demand, were much weaker than expected in July, pulled down mainly by a sharp fall in the number of goods bought online.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said today that retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 2.3% in July compared to June, but were still 3.1% higher than in July 2020.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1% monthly increase and a 4.8% year-on-year rise.
June sales were revised up a little, to a rise of 1.8% from 1.5% month-on-month and to 5.4% from 5% year-on-year.
Eurostat said internet and mail order sales fell the most in the month in July, declining 7.3%, while sales of automotive fuel dropped 1.6% and sales of food were down 0.7% on the month.
But when measured against July 2020, all the retail sales numbers were up, with online sales 11.2% higher, automotive fuel up 0.6% and food sales 1.1% stronger.