Retail sales in the eurozone fell sharply over the Christmas period, with their biggest monthly fall in two-and-a-half years.
December’s sales fell by 1% compared to the same time a year ago, and by 1.6% compared to November. Both figures were much worse than analysts expected.
The drop in consumer demand followed a surprise fall in eurozone inflation to 0.7% in January.
The figure prompted concerns about deflation in the 17-nation bloc.
According to the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat, the largest annual decrease in sales came in Germany, where trade fell by 2.4% in December compared to the same month in 2012.
Overall, sales of food, drink and tobacco fell by 1.6% on an annual basis, while trade in non-food items dropped by 0.4%.