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Retail

German retail trade logs surprise gain

German retailers have booked higher-than-expected revenues, boosting their turnover both in a year-on-year and month-on-month comparison. Economists had penciled in a tangible drop but their prediction was off the mark.

German retail trade posted surprising turnover gains in February, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported on Monday.

Destatis said revenues in the sector rose by 1.3 percent in real, price-adjusted terms compared with the previous month. This came as a surprise as analysts polled by Reuters had penciled in a 0.5-percent drop for the month.

In a year-on-year comparison, retailers' turnover jumped by 2 percent in real terms. Destatis noted the biggest driver was the sale of clothing, shoes and leather goods, which surged by 6.1 percent.

Robust labor market

German consumers still willing to spend

Almost equally successful was the sale of pharmaceutical and medical products, while trade in household appliances and food items was sluggish throughout February.

Germany's retail umbrella organization, HDE, said it expected a 1.5-percent rise in turnover throughout the current year, up from a 1.1-percent increase in 2013.

Retailers continue to profit from a generally positive consumer mood in the country against the background of low unemployment and the prospect of more wage hikes in many industries as the market research group GfK confirmed last week.

However, a large proportion of the money Germans were willing to spend was found to be going into holidays, services and refurbishing.

hg/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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