Germany Retail Sales Fall Sharply In December

Germany’s retail sales declined sharply in December suggesting weak consumer spending even during the Christmas season, data published by Destatis revealed Tuesday.

Retail sales plunged 6.4 percent in December from the last year, much faster than economists’ forecast of -1.8 percent.

On a monthly basis, retail turnover decreased 5.3 percent, in contrast to the 1.9 percent increase in November and the 0.2 percent rise economists’ had forecast.

Online and mail order sales also recorded a real drop of 3.8 percent compared to the previous month and 7.2 percent compared to the same month last year.

In the year 2022, retail sales decreased by real 0.6 percent from the previous year.

While real sales increased 3.1 percent annually in the first half of year, they fell significantly by 4.1 percent in the second half of the year. The annual decline was driven by higher inflation. Moreover, retail trade achieved record sales in 2021.

In 2022, food sales posted its record fall of 4.6 percent. On the other hand, non-food sales grew 2.0 percent, which was the highest turnover since the series began in 1994.

Sales in textiles, clothing and footwear registered the biggest annual increase of all the retail sectors, with real rise of 27.0 percent.

The largest euro area economy contracted 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter damping the possibility of the euro area skirting a technical recession. Private consumption, which has been supporting the economy in the first three quarters, was lower in the fourth quarter.

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