Eurozone retail sales fell unexpectedly for a second consecutive month in December last year, showing continued weakness in the household demand.
The volume of retail trade in the 16-nation eurozone decreased by 0.6 percent in December month-on-month, Eurostat data showed on Thursday. In the broader European Union, retail sales declined by 0.4 percent.
Markets had expected retail sales in eurozone to rise by 0.6 percent in the last month of 2010, following a 0.8 percent decrease in November.
Year-on-year, retail sales in eurozone and the EU went down by 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent in December respectively.
However, the average volume of retail sales in 2010 rose 0.7 percent in both the regions compared with previous year.
Decline in December retail sales in eurozone was largely led by both the food and the non-food sectors, which fell 0.5 percent each.
Surprisingly, Portugal saw the highest increase in monthly retail sales in the region, up by 4.7 percent.