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Shoes for sale in a shop in Paris, on Jan. 20.BENOIT TESSIER/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 per cent in July against June, but were still 3.1 per cent higher than in July 2020.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1 per cent monthly increase and a 4.8 per cent year-on-year rise.

June sales were revised up a little, to a rise of 1.8 per cent from 1.5 per cent month-on-month and to 5.4 per cent from 5.0 per cent year-on-year.

Eurostat said internet and mail order sales fell the most in the month in July, declining 7.3 per cent, while sales of automotive fuel dropped 1.6 per cent and sales of food were down 0.7 per cent on the month.

Still, measured against July 2020, all the retail sales numbers were up, with online sales 11.2 per cent higher, automotive fuel up 0.6 per cent and food sales 1.1 per cent stronger.

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