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Business

Sales Decline at German Retail Giant

Plummeting consumer confidence in Germany has affected the profits of Germany’s leading department store company KarstadtQuelle. The retailer announced on Monday in Essen that after a better-than-expected one percent decline in fourth quarter sales, group sales for 2002 had decreased 1.7 percent to 15.8 billion euros ($16.65 billion). The company said that sales in the fourth quarter weren't as bad as had been feared, despite a decline in November because of decreasing consumer confidence in the face of Germany’s continuing tax debate. KarstadtQuelle said it was difficult to give an outlook for business in the coming months, but said that it had already seen marked growth in the first two weeks of January.