German retail sales post shock fall in December

German retail sales post shock fall in December
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman carries a shopping bag branded with the fashion chain H&M as she walks along Kurfuerstendamm shopping street looking for bargains on the second weekend of advent in Berlin, Germany, December 3, 2022. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

BERLIN (Reuters) -German retail sales unexpectedly fell in December, as a Christmas shopping period weighed down by high inflation and the energy crisis revived fears of a more marked slowdown in Europe’s largest economy this winter, data showed on Tuesday.

Retail sales decreased by 5.3% in December compared with the previous month, the federal statistics office said. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% rise in price-adjusted terms.

Retail sales also fell year-on-year in December by 6.4% in real terms, the office said

“Just before Christmas, retailers in German city centres missed the big rush,” said VP Bank chief economist Thomas Gitzel.

“The much-cited loss of prosperity is also reflected in weaker consumption, among other things. As there is little change in this core dynamic for the time being, private consumption will continue to be weak,” Gitzel said, adding that this would further weigh on economic output this quarter.

On Monday, the statistics office reported that gross domestic product in Germany declined by 0.2% in the last quarter of 2022, putting a winter recession – commonly defined as two successive quarters of contraction – back on the cards.

The federal statistics office publishes more details on retail sales on its website.

Source: Reuters