German retailers had a mixed year in 2001. Despite the beneficial effects of tax reforms on consumer spending, sales rose only marginally judging by a series of new figures.

Excluding the car and petrol sectors, retail sales rose 2%–2.5% in 2001, or a paltry 0.5% with inflation factored in, according to the Federal Statistics Office. The results compare less than favourably with 2000, when real sales rose 1.4%.

However, the findings of retail sector federation HDE – which omit pharmaceutical and fuel figures – were even lower, with turnover increasing 1% overall and 0.5% in real terms.

Most retailers polled by HDE subsidiary BBE said 2001 was “average”, though some 27% described it as “successful”. The year ahead does not look much better, with half expecting it to be “average” at best. HDE expressed concern that forthcoming consumer spending would be negatively affected by rising unemployment.

News source: Handelsblatt (Germany)