Retail trade fell by 0.5 percent in the euro zone in June from May, with retail sales falling 0.3 percent during the period in the wider European Union, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Monday.
In June, retail sales fell in the 17-member single currency area by 0.9 percent from a year earlier, but sales rose slightly in the European Union by 0.1 percent.
The latest figures come after a mixed performance for retail sales in recent months. In May, retail sales rose by 1.1 percent in the euro zone and 1.3 percent in the EU.
Retail sales in April were stagnant, while February and March saw slight declines of 0.1 and 0.2 percent, respectively. The drop in June, led by falling sales in food, drink and tobacco, was the largest since December 2012.
Barclays economist Apolline Menut said in an investors' note that European private consumption in the first quarter seems to have done well, notching slight positive growth after five straight quarters of contraction.
Menut also noted the uneven performance among European countries in the latest data, highlighting steep drops in Austria and Germany but positive performances in Portugal and France.
In other news, the Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply purchasing managers index for the UK rose at its fastest pace since December 2006, and the services sector in the euro zone expanded for the first time in a year and a half.
Nat Rudarakanchana covers commodities and companies for the International Business Times. He is especially interested in precious metals, the food and drink industry, and...