Retail sales volumes in the 16 countries that use the euro matched their sharpest-ever monthly drop on record in November, scotching hopes that consumer spending will help drive the currency area's fledgling recovery, official data showed Thursday.
Retail sales slumped 1.2% from October, matching the record monthly drop seen in October 2008 and 2001, the European Union's Eurostat statistics agency said Thursday.
Sales were 4% weaker than in November 2008, the sharpest annual drop for nine months and the 18th consecutive month that sales have fallen on a year-to-year basis.
The data are much weaker than expected. Economists surveyed last week expected sales to increase 0.3% from the previous month in November, leaving them 1.8% weaker than a year earlier.