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Euro zone retail sales weaker than expected in January

om retaiShopping during COVID-19 pandemic in Munich

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone retail sales rebounded much less than expected month-on-month in January and were still lower than 12 months earlier, underlining the weakness of consumer demand in euro zone and the broader economic slowdown, data showed on Monday.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said retail sales in the 20 countries sharing the euro rose 0.3% month-on-month in January for a 2.3% year-on-year decline.

This fell well short of expectations of economists polled by Reuters, who forecast a 1.0% month-on-month rise and a 1.8% year-on-year fall.

Economists see retail sales as a good proxy indicator for consumer demand, which has suffered because of rampant inflation, triggered mainly by rising energy and food prices, but also seeping into other sectors of the economy.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)