German retail sales to boost economy
German retail sales made solid gains in January, according to data released on Thursday, underscoring expectations that consumption will join exports as a growth driver for Europe's biggest economy.
Retail sales rose 2.6 percent from January 2009 at constant prices and 3.8 percent in nominal terms, the federal statistics office said.
On a monthly basis, retail sales were up by 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, a clear sign that shoppers were starting to contribute to German economic activity.
The annualised gain was led by non-food items, which rose 6.2 percent at constant prices and 6.6 percent when tallied in nominal terms, the Destatis data showed.
German retail sales figures are calculated on the basis of data provided by six states that account for 66 percent of all sales, the Destatis office said.
In its latest survey of German consumers, the GfK research institute said their mood was improving amid expectations of higher wages.
The number of unemployed in Germany dropped sharply last month as warmer temperatures and strong order books underpinned job creation.
"Today's numbers should hush up all skeptics who have been mistrusting the recovery of the German consumer," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said.
Only high energy prices and inflation could derail the trend, he said.
© 2011 AFP