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Euro zone retail sales weaker than expected in July

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - 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 on Friday that retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 2.3% in July against 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 5.0% 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.

Still, 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.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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