German retailers fear Christmas slump

As a result, more than half of German consumers plan to spend less on presents this year

Seventy percent of German retailers expect their revenue around Christmas to stay below last year’s, the German Retail Association (HDE) said on Thursday. The survey was conducted among 500 companies.

“This remains a difficult time for retailers,” HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth said in a statement, adding that sales in the German retail sector have been impacted by “inflation-driven price increases.”

While nominal sales in the last two months of the year are expected to increase by 5.4 percent to about 120.3 billion euros (119.8 billion U.S. dollars), there will be a 4 percent year-on-year drop in price-adjusted sales, according to the association’s forecast.

According to the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (BEVH), traditional retail businesses have seen a steeper decline in their revenue than e-commerce activities. The latter is actually expected to yield 20 percent more revenue this year than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, said the association.

“We are still talking about two completely different worlds,” a spokesperson of the BEVH told Xinhua on Thursday.

Retailers with shops in German city centers have been facing “great challenges and suffering big drops in turnover” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery bottlenecks and high inflation, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said in a statement on Thursday.

Mirroring the trends in the eurozone, where inflation climbed above 10 percent for the first time since the introduction of the bloc’s shared currency, inflation in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has been rising and reached 10.4 percent in October, according to official data.

As a result, more than half of German consumers plan to spend less on presents this year or even do without gifts altogether, according to a recent survey conducted by market research institute YouGov on behalf of the German news agency dpa.

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