Retailers in Germany have been struggling to keep their heads above water for the past three years and look set to continue in a similar vein for some time to come. Speaking in Duesseldorf this week, the President of the Association of German Retailers (HDE) Hermann Franzen, said that 50,000 jobs had been slashed in the retail branch in 2003, and 35,000 traders had either gone bust or thrown in the towel. He said it was the first time since the end of WWII that the sector had suffered such radical job cuts, adding that the HDE was expecting a further 30,000 retail job losses through the course of this year. He attributes the trend to continued reluctance among consumers to spend their money, and the ruinous battle to offer rock-bottom prices. That said, the HDE believes this year will see turnover stabilizing, paving the way for growth next year.