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Economy in Brief

German And French Retail Sales
by Louise Curley February 2, 2010

Data for retail sales, excluding motor vehicles and motorcycles, in France and in Germany were released today.  The latest date for France is November and for Germany, December.

Retail trade in Germany continues to disappoint.  Both the volume and value of trade increased 0.8% in December but they are no higher than they were October.  The volume of trade in December was 97.0 (2005=100) compared with 97.9 in October.  The corresponding figures for the value of trade were 98.9 and 100.0. With the GfK Consumer Climate Survey released last week pointing to a continuing deterioration of the consumer climate in January and February, the outlook for retail sales is not encouraging. The first chart shows that the declining trends in both the value and the volume of retail trade, which began in early 2008, are continuing. 

The picture in France is more encouraging.  Although both volume and value have had their ups and down, the declines in the volume and value of retail trade have been less severe than those in Germany and the trends for both appear to have begun to turn up since May of this year.  There was no change in the value of trade in November--the index remaining at 105.2; there was a slight decline in the volume of trade to 107.8 from 107.9 in October.  The value and volume of retail trade in France are shown in the second chart.

Since the data are available only in index form, the absolute volume and value of retail trade are unknown.  All we know is that, in the case of Germany, the volume of retail trade in December was 3% below its volume in 2005 and the value, 1.1% below 2005.  In France, the volume of retail trade in November was 7.8% above its 2005 volume and the value, 5.2% above.  The volume and value of retail sales in Germany are still below levels reached in 2005, while in France the volume and value of retail sales have surpassed 2005 levels.

Value of Retail Trade (2005=100) Dec 09 Nov 08 Oct 09 Sep 09 Aug 09 Jul 09 Jun 09 May 09
Germany 98.9 98.1 100.0 99.0 98.8 99.8 99.1 99.9
France   105.2 105.2 104.6 105.2 104.2 104.9 103.6
Volume of Retail Trade (2005=100)        
Germany 97.0 96.2 97.9 97.0 96.5 98.1 96.8 97.7
France   107.8 107.9 107.1 107.9 107.1 107.9 106.7

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