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Economy in Brief

German Retail Sales by Sector
by Robert Brusca May 30, 2008

German retail sales are showing some real weakness in April. Nominal sales ex-autos are off by 1.3% in April and 1.7% in real terms. For the developing second quarter the results are grim. As of the first month of the new quarter the growth rate of ex auto retail sales in April over the Q1 base is at a minus 13.1% annualized growth rate for nominal retail sales and -15.9% for inflation-adjusted retail sales.

The table shows a steady menu of negative growth rates over all horizons from one year in, with the pace of declines getting more or less progressively weaker.

The chart shows that retail sales trends in Germany have been volatile even though these series exclude auto sales which can be even more volatile. The current month is turning trends sharply lower. April is the second deeply negative month in a row. Weakness in March and April offset what had looked like a strong gain in February sales. The trends in Europe have been more consistently negative. Like in the US, consumer readings in Germany and in Europe are generally among some of the weakest in the entire economy. Weak retail sales keep this trend in play.

German Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal Apr-08 Mar-08 Feb-08 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO Yr Ago QTR Saar
Retail Excl Auto -1.3% -2.2% 1.4% -8.1% -0.8% -3.1% 1.7% -13.1%
Food Beverage & Tobacco -1.0% -0.1% 0.0% -4.4% -3.1% -2.3% 1.7% -6.4%
Clothing footwear 1.2% -10.3% 6.2% -13.4% -4.0% -9.9% 8.6% -21.8%
Retail Excl auto -1.7% -2.2% 1.0% -11.3% -3.9% -5.6% 0.9% -15.9%
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