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Business

German retail sales rebound amid stable spending mood

Business prospects for German retailers brightened in August after sales slumped in the previous month. The stable consumption climate might help shopkeepers eke out a small gain for the whole year.

Retail sales in Germany rose 1 percent in August, making up for a similarly large decline in the previous month of July, according to figures released by the Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, Friday.

However, the strong August gain was significantly reduced by inflation, Destatis said, which lowered the growth figure to 0.3 percent in real terms.

Destatis noted that the same effect was even more striking with regard to year-on-year figures, showing a nominal rise by 1.7 percent, and an actual decline in sales adjusted for inflation by 0.8 percent compared with August 2011.

In broken-down figures, sales of food, beverages and tobacco grew disproportionately at a rate of 4.2 percent in the past 12 month, while purchases of non-food products dropped 0.4 percent.

German retailers' lobby group HDE recently estimated total sales for 2012 to rise 1.5 percent after growth for the first eight month of the year reached 2.3 percent.

Sales might be supported by a stable consumer mood in September, reflected in an unchanged reading of the German Consumer Confidence Index, released by GfK research group this week.

Based on responses from about 2,000 German households, the index showed that Germans were willing to go on spending, despite lower expectations for income growth and general concerns about the economy.

uhe/mz (Reuters, dpa, AFP)