Retail trade volume in the euro zone fell 0.6 percent month on month in March, the European Union's (EU) statistics bureau Eurostat said Wednesday.
In March, food, drinks and tobacco sales decreased 1.4 percent on a monthly basis in the 16-nation euro area, while the non-food sector remained unchanged, Eurostat said.
Year on year, the eurozone retail sales slumped 4.2 percent in March, with food, drinks and tobacco down 5.2 percent and the non-food sector down 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile in the 27-nation EU, retail sales dropped 0.3 percent from the previous month and by 3.1 percent from year-ago levels.
Statistics showed that among the EU member states for which data were available, total retail trade fell in ten, rose in six and remained unchanged in Denmark and Romania on a monthly basis.
The highest increase was observed in Slovenia, which was 6.8 percent, while the largest decrease was in Lithuania with a drop of 4.3 percent.
Retail sales are an indication of household demand, one of the three major economic drivers. With the European economy in crisis and a rising jobless rate, analysts warned retail sales will shrink as private consumption is set to fall.