BRUSSELS (Reuters) - 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 percent month-on-month and rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the same 0.2 percent drop in July and a 1.3 percent year-on-year rise after June’s increases of 0.3 percent month-on-month and 1.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The year-on-year rise was largely the result of a 7.3 percent increase in mail order and internet sales.
Sales of textiles and clothing dropped by 1.8 percent, its sixth decline in the first seven months of the year. Non-food products as a whole were up just 0.9 percent.
On a country-by-country basis, retail sales rose most in Lithuania and Ireland and fell by most in Malta and Austria.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop