BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone retail sales rose in May, recording this year's highest monthly increase, the European Union's statistics office said on Tuesday.


Retail sales, a proxy for household spending, were up 0.4 percent in May month-on-month and 1.6 percent on a yearly basis in the 19-country currency bloc, Eurostat said, in line with market expectations.


The rise recorded in May is the highest of the year on a monthly basis, confirming a generally positive trend for sales in 2016 when they grew every month, except in March when consumers' purchases fell 0.6 percent.


Eurostat also revised up the monthly figure for April which now shows a 0.2 percent rise of retail sales, instead of the previous estimate of flat sales.


The higher sales were driven by consumers' increased purchases of so-called non-food products, a category including textiles, medical goods and electronic appliances, which recorded an 0.7 percent rise month-on-month.

Sales of fuel and food, drinks and tobacco products were flat in May.

Among the largest euro zone economies, retail sales on a monthly basis rose 0.9 percent in Germany after two consecutive falls, while remained flat in France.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, editing by Julia Fioretti)