Retail sales in countries using the euro fell by a record amount over the last 12 months.
According to the official EU statistics agency, Eurostat, sales were down 4.2% between March 2008 and 2009.
Retail sales fell 3.1% over the year across the whole European Union.
The BBC reports official unemployment figures show 20 million people are currently out of work in the EU.
The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia saw the biggest drops in retail figures. They are down 27.3% in Latvia, 21.1% in Lithuania and by 16.6% in Estonia.
But volumes of trade rose in Belgium, Austria and the United Kingdom. They were up 2.1% in Belgium, 2.0% in Austria and 0.8% in the United Kingdom.