BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone retail sales rose as expected month-on-month in September but fell less than expected year-on-year after a strong upward revision for August, data showed on Tuesday, underlining sustained consumer demand in the third quarter.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose an expected 0.4% month-on-month for a 0.6% year-on-year fall, which was much smaller than the 1.3% expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
Eurostat also revised upwards retail sales for August to 0.0% month-on-month from the previously reported -0.3% and to -1.4% from -2.0% in annual terms.
Retail sales are seen as a good indication of consumer demand, which is in focus because of expectations that the euro zone will slide into a recession in the coming months because of a surge in energy prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A flash estimate showed euro zone GDP growth slowed sharply in the third quarter to 0.2% quarter-on-quarter but remained in positive territory.
The monthly increase in September was driven mainly by purchases through the internet, which rose 2.6% on the month after a 4.1% monthly slump during the holiday season in August. Conversely, sales of petrol which rose 2.1% on the month in August when people travel for vacation, fell 0.6% in September.
In year-on-year terms, the overall result was lowered by a 2.4% fall in the sales of food, drinks and tobacco and a 0.3% decline in sales of non-food products, which was not offset by a 3.7% increase in the sales of fuels for cars.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)