LONDON (AP) -- Retail sales in the 16 countries that use the euro fell 0.2 percent in August from the previous month for the second straight month, official figures showed Monday.
Though food, drink and tobacco sales increased, Eurostat said the nonfood sector continued to weigh down on the overall figure -- a further indication that consumers remain reluctant to splash out on non-essential items during the recession.
In the wider 27-country European Union, sales fell 0.3 percent following a stable outcome in July.
Among the member states for which data are available, sales rose in four countries and fell in 13. The highest increases were observed in Poland and Spain, while the biggest fallers were Latvia and Sweden. However, Germany's 1.5 percent monthly decline had the most impact on the overall figures as it is the euro zone's largest economy.
Sales were down 2.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in the euro zone and by 1.8 percent in the EU.