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Retail

German January retail sales surprise, raising hopes for 2014 rebound

Retailers in Germany logged significantly higher sales in January, boosting their hopes for better business in 2014 following a year of stagnation. The surprise increase was the steepest for a month since 2007.

Retail outlets in Germany saw sales in January jump by an inflation-adjusted 2.5 percent compared with the previous month of December, the .

Compared with January 2013, sales were significant 0.9 percent higher, it said.

According to Destatis, the increase was the steepest for a single month since February 2007 and may signal a rebound in the sector after sluggish business in 2013. Last year, sales edged up by just 0.1 percent compared with 2012, dropping by a staggering 2.5 percent in the crucial Christmas month of December.

Germans saving less, spending more

Retailers now hope rising consumer sentiment in Germany will eventually translate into bigger revenues and profits for them. In January, Germany's widely-watched GfK consumer confidence index hit a level last seen in August 2007 as Germans expect higher incomes and stronger growth in 2014.

Last month, demand was especially high for textiles, shoes and clothing as sales increased 4 percent year-on-year. Cosmetics as well as medical and pharmaceutical products were also up significantly, with 3.7 percent higher sales. Online and mail order retailers benefited disproportionately from the increase, boosting their sales by 3.2 percent.

Retail sector lobby group HDE has predicted that sales would increase by 1.5 percent on the back of a robustly growing German economy in 2014.

uhe/pfd (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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