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German retail sales slump in December as COVID measures hit trade

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People with shopping bags walk near a shopping center, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Berlin, Germany December 21, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) -German retail sales dropped more than expected in December, data showed on Tuesday, as tighter coronavirus-related restrictions hurt trade in textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods.

The Federal Statistics Office said retail sales – a volatile indicator often subject to revisions – tumbled 5.5% on the month in real terms, compared with a Reuters forecast for a fall of 1.4%.

“The December decline is probably related to the fact many retail outlets have started asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or recovery, and the impact of seasonal adjustment due to Christmas,” the statistics office said in a statement.

On the year, retail sales adjusted for prices remained stable, compared with analysts’ average forecast for an increase of 1.1%, according to a Reuters poll.

Compared with February 2020, the month before the coronavirus crisis hit Germany, retail sales in December 2021 were up 0.7%.

At the same time, businesses hope for a probable decline in coronavirus cases in spring to ease supply bottlenecks and brighten the outlook for the coming months.

German retail sales slump in December as COVID measures hit trade

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