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SALES of food, clothing and tobacco drove the Eurozone’s retail sector forward in September, new figures reveal.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, said retail sales in the single currency zone rose 0.7% month-on-month and 3.7% year-on-year and eclipsed the gloom of a 0.4% fall in car fuel sales in the month.

The data indicates the Eurozone economy is picking up with stronger domestic demand and the improvement has outstripped the forecasts of economists.

Eurostat attributed the increase of retail sales over September retail to a rise of 0.5% for non-food products; which include clothing, furniture and electrical goods, and an advance of 1.3% for food, drinks and tobacco.

Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg and France led the strongest performances, while the UK, Croatia and Lithuania had the biggest decreases.

The European Central Bank in September raised growth forecasts for the Eurozone for the year to 2.2% – the best performance for a decade.

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