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Retail

German consumer confidence robust despite eurozone jitters

A leading market research group has reported that the German consumers appear largely unfazed by ongoing financial problems in a number of fellow eurozone nations. They believe their own situation is not in jeopardy.

Germans largely shrugged off fears of a possible resurgence of the euro crisis, the market research company GfK reported on Tuesday. Its consumer confidence index was forecast to rise to 6.2 points in May, up from 6 points a month earlier.

GfK's headline barometer was based on responses from 2,000 households to questions regarding their expected wages and economic developments in general.

"It seems that consumers do not feel their own personal economic situation is in jeopardy thanks to stable jobless numbers and pay increases," the researchers said in a statement, alluding to the fallout of an inconclusive election in Italy and protracted negotiations on a Cyprus bailout.

Too cold for spring clothes

Though German consumers' expectations for the months ahead were positive, the country's retailers recorded a slight decrease in sales in March. Month-on-month revenues dipped by 0.3 percent in price and seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) announced Tuesday.

Regional produce in German supermarkets

On a 12-month basis, retail sales were down by 2.8 percent, but statisticians hastened to point out that there were two fewer shopping days in March of this year than in the same month a year ago.

Hardest hit was the clothing industry, with retailers logging a 10.7 percent drop in sales of textiles, shoes and leatherwear as spring collections in the stores were in low demand because of wintry weather conditions outside. Nonetheless, the general mood among analysts remained positive.

"Consumption has a solid footing in the country, with unemployment low, wages rising and inflation kept at bay," Dekabank economist Andreas Scheuerle told the Reuters news agency.

hg/ (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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