Germany’s retailers have given up on this year’s Christmas shopping season. Business has picked up with only two more days to buy gifts, but overall it has been poor as the unemployment remained high and growth stagnated this year in Germany. Two retail industry associations, the HDE and BAG, now assume sales this Christmas season will be around five percent lower than last year. “For Christmas sales we’ll be just below the previous year,” HDE spokesman Hubertus Pellengahr told the AFP news agency. Many retailers had hoped a good Christmas season would make up for a relatively lousy year.