Eurozone retail sales slipped by 0.2 percent in July from the previous month, preliminary data released on Wednesday by the EU statistics unit Eurostat showed, after a slight rise of 0.1 percent in June.
On an annualised basis, retail sales fell by 1.7 percent across the 17-nation economic bloc, Eurostat said as the region appeared headed into a recession.
Although Ireland posted a strong monthly rise of 1.7 percent, an equally strong decline of 1.7 percent was reported by Austria and Malta, while Spanish retail sales slumped by 1.9 percent.
In Germany, the largest European economy and a country traditionally known for saving rather than spending, retail sales declined by 0.9 percent from the level in June.
For the entire 27-member European Union meanwhile, retail sales were stable in July on the month and 0.2 percent lower than in July 2011.
The eurozone seems to be headed for another recession, with growth contracting by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2012 following flat business activity in the first three months of the year.