Fresh statistics show that Germany's retail sector struggled in April to boost sales, despite strong consumer confidence shown in surveys. The retailers' association says it expects sales to pick up later this year.
German retailers earned less in April in what marked the third consecutive month of shrinking sales in the sector, the National Statistics Office, Destatis, reported Friday.
Sales fell by 0.4 percent month-on-month in price, seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms, while economists polled by Reuters news agency had penciled in a 0.2-percent rise for April.
On a year-on-year basis, though, revenues increased by 1.8 percent, but economists said that was partly because there were two more shopping days in April this year than in the same month in 2012.
On a 12-month basis, there was a 15.5-percent jump in Internet and mail-order sales, while revenues generated in shopping centers and malls edged up only marginally.
The German Association of Retailers said it expected full-year sales to increase by 1 percent throughout 2013.
A recent survey by the GfK market research group showed that German consumer confidence had reached its highest level in almost seven years.
It said people looked prone to spend more money in the months ahead due to expected wage hikes in many industries, low unemployment as well as record-low interest rates providing little incentives for people to save.
hg/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)