BRUSSELS (AP) - Retail sales across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro slumped in October, putting new pressure on the European Central Bank to cut borrowing rates this week.
Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said Wednesday that eurozone retail sales fell 1.2 percent in October from the previous month, double September's decline and substantially more than the 0.2 percent drop analysts expected.
The figures provide further evidence that households remain gloomy over the economy. The eurozone is back into recession, officially defined as two straight quarters of falling output.
Wednesday's figures come a day before the ECB meets to decide on whether to cut its main interest rate from the record low of 0.75 percent. Most economists think the ECB will wait before backing another cut despite the weak economy.