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

FILE PHOTO: Customers queue up as they wait the opening of the main shop of French luxury group Hermes in Paris, France, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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.

Eurostst 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