Retail sales in Italy decreased in April 2012 from March, reflecting weakness in both food and non-food sales, according to the data released by national statistics institute, Istat.

Seasonally adjusted retail trade sales were down by 1.6% in April, compared to the previous month, when retail sales fell just 0.2%.

April retail sales decline, on a seasonally adjusted basis, is the largest in at least eight years.

Month-on-month, sales of food goods declined 1.5% in April after recording a 0.2% fall in March, while non food goods sales edged down 1.5% April after a 0.2% decrease in the preceding month.

A recent survey of Istat revealed that the trend is likely to continue as Italian consumer confidence fell to a new low in June, descending below an all-time record set in May.

On an unadjusted basis, retail trade sales plunged 6.8% in April from the same month a year ago, offsetting the 1.7% annual increase registered in March.

Sales of food goods slipped 6.1% year-on-year in April, while non food goods sales declined 7.1% in the month, on annual basis.

During the same month, sales at smaller shops decreased 8.6% from a year earlier, while sales at larger stores fell 4.3%.

The statistics institute said that sales of pharmaceuticals, shoes, clothing and luggage fell the most in April from a year ago.

In the February-April period, retail sales increased 0.2% from the preceding three months, while January-March period also recorded 0.2% growth in sales.

Sales of food goods were up by 0.5% in three months to April, while non food goods sales moved up 0.1% during the period.