German retail sales bounce back in April: statistics

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German retail sales bounced back in April, gaining 0.6 percent from March's 2.7 percent slump, seasonally-adjusted figures released on Tuesday by the national statistics office showed.

The provisional result for April fell below a forecast gain of 1.7 percent by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires however.

Germany is counting on a pick-up in consumption to provide another pillar of growth alongside exports, but the drop in March was even bigger than an initial estimate by the Destatis statistics office of 2.1 percent.

In the first four months of the year, retail sales were 1.1 percent stronger than in the same period a year earlier in Europe's biggest economy, Destatis said.

"Given that these preliminary releases are prone to big revisions is difficult to say much about the April figure at this stage," Goldman Sachs senior European economist Dirk Schumacher commented.

"The strong increase in gasoline prices during April may have dampened the rebound in retail sales," he noted.

Last week, the GfK survey estimate of German consumer confidence for June posted its third consecutive drop as the the eurozone debt crisis and higher energy prices sapped shopper's morale.

"Overall private consumption remains on an upward trend," nonetheless, Schumacher said.

A breakdown of the figures released on Tuesday showed that on a 12-month basis, sales of clothing, textiles and footwear gained 10.1 percent in April.

At the other end of the scale, purchases of beverages, fish and meat declined by 0.3 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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