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Business

German Retail Hits Post-War Low

The German industry federation BAG believes 2002 will be the worst year for retail sales since the end of the war. Even good Christmas sales would not be enough to offset this year's decline, the industry said.

BAG President Walter Deuss painted a bleak picture. "Even at this time of the year when demand is usually high, we've said goodbye to any hope of attaining a comparable level of sales to the level we achieved last year," he said. He said he expected a decline of 2.5 percent to 3 percent from last year.

In view of the current situation, BAG predicts that around 10,000 retailers will close this year, the equivalent of 30,000 job losses. However, Deuss warned as many as 50,000 jobs could be affected as many retailers employ part-time staff. Deuss was pessimistic about the outlook for next year saying that rising tax burdens would further dampen consumer spending.