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Euro zone retail sales pick up year-on-year in September

FILE PHOTO: A woman carries her shopping bags in downtown Hamburg, Germany, January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone retail sales accelerated more than expected year-on-year in September, data from the European Union’s statistics office showed on Wednesday, pointing to sustained domestic demand in Europe.

Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.1% month-on-month for a 3.1% year-on-year gain, up from 2.7% in August. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the same monthly increase but forecast only a 2.5% annual rise.

Retail sales are a proxy for domestic demand, which has been supported by unemployment at 11-year lows and gradual wage growth.

The statistics office said that month-on-month retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco fell 0.4%, but rose 0.1% for non-food products. In year-on-year terms, which are less prone to swings, sales of food rose 1.3% and of non-food products by 4.6%, accelerating from 4.2% the previous month.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop