German retail sales dip in November, but rise over 2011
Retail sales in Germany increased in 2011, driven by low unemployment and relatively buoyant growth in Europe's powerhouse economy, despite falling unexpectedly in November, official data showed Thursday.
Sales grew by between 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent in real terms for the whole of last year, according to provisional figures by the federal statistics office.
However, it said that November's figure, which did not include sales of cars, had slid by 0.9 percent compared to a month earlier.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected an increase of 0.5 percent for November and economists expressed disappointment at the apparent weakness of pre-Christmas sales.
"The latest setback in retail sales figures has been clearly disappointing," said Alexander Koch, an economist at Unicredit.
"Has the European debt crisis put German consumers off shopping?" asked Christian Schulz from Berenberg Bank.
However, most analysts pointed to positive data from forward-looking surveys of consumer sentiment as evidence that the German shopper is still in a buoyant mood.
"The fall in retail sales in November may thus be revised upwards later, and in any case is likely to be followed by better December data," said Schulz.
"Domestic demand and in particular private consumption are likely to support the German economy through the difficult period this winter, when trade and investment are likely to suffer setbacks amid the euro crisis."
© 2012 AFP