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Business

Deloitte expects bumper 2013 Xmas sales in Europe

European consumers are set to increase spending for Christmas this year, revising a five-year trend of declining sales. But a new survey compiled by Deloitte research group also shows vastly diverging spending patterns.

In 2013, the average Christmas budget across Europe was projected to be about 450 euros ($608), up about 0.7 percent from last year, the market research group Deloitte announced as it released a survey of about 18,000 people from 16 countries on Thursday.

The increase would be the first since 2008, Deloitte announced in its report, and came as consumers' perceptions about the European economy were generally improving.

The rise in spending was led by consumers in Germany, who said they were prepared to spend 6.7 percent more than last year. Swiss consumers followed in second place with a prospected rise in spending by 3 percent. However, with average Christmas budgets of 399 euros and 656 euros, respectively, consumers in the two countries are not the top spenders in Europe.

The biggest Christmas shoppers live in Luxembourg, Deloitte found, as families were prepared to spend 825 euros on their presents. The Fins are a distant second with an average of 692 euros set aside for seasonal shopping.

Declining Christmas budgets were reported from France, where families said they would spend 0.9 percent less on average this year. Deloitte's survey also found that a majority of French consumers feared their purchasing power would further erode in 2014.

Christmas spending would still fall in recession-hit Italy and Greece, but at more moderate rates than in previous years, Deloitte announced. In Spain, it was expected to rise 1 percent after plunging over 4 percent last year.

uhe/mkg (Reuters, dpa)