European shares opened lower on Monday, with French stocks down almost 1%, as alarmingly weak economic data from China fanned global recession fears.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.6% by 0715 GMT on Monday, after posting its first weekly gain in five on Friday.

China's April retail sales plunged 11.1%, almost twice the fall forecast, while industrial output dropped 2.9% when analysts had looked for a slight increase, adding to fears that the world's second-biggest economy could contract this quarter amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

Europe's travel and leisure sector led losses among sub-indexes, down 1.4%. Healthcare stocks were the biggest drag, while luxury names including Louis Vuitton-owner LVMH, which derives a chunk of its demand from China, fell 1.1%.

Bucking the trend, the telecom sector was up 0.6%, buoyed by a 3.5% jump in Vodafone, after Emirates Telecommunications Group bought a 9.8% stake in the company.

(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)