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Business

Shop 'til you Drop

Germany's retailers say they're satisfied with business this Christmas season. Turnover was 24 billion Deutschmarks higher in November and December than in the other months of the year.

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To buy or not to buy?

It's a merry Christmas for Germany's retailers this year: Business was very good during the last two months.

According to the Association of German retailers (HDE), Germans made excessive use of long store-opening hours this past weekend to shop for last-minute Christmas gifts.

Stores were crowded, and everywhere you turned, you bumped into people carrying shopping bags and big gift-wrapped packages.

A sudden cold-spell which hit Germany at the end of last week made warm winter clothes a 'hot' item on the last shopping weekend before the holidays.

A big plus

An HDE survey published after the shops closed this past weekend shows turnover in the months November and December was 24 billion Deutschmarks ($ 11 million) higher than the average turnover during the rest of the year.

Statistically, every man woman and child in Germany spent 289 Deutschmarks ($ 131) for Christmas presents this year. That's slightly more than last year, when the average German spent 285 Deutschmarks ($ 129) on gifts.

Most shop owners in Germany say they're satisfied with business: half of them say they made more money this Christmas season than during last year's holiday rush.

Nevertheless, some of them may be looking back nostalgically at the year 1999, when the average German spent a record 322 Deutschmarks ($ 146) on Christmas presents.

Best buys

HDE spokesman Hubertus Pellengahr said the most sought-after Christmas presents this year included DVD-players, digital camcorders and computer gadgets. As far as toys are concerned: anything that had 'Harry Potter' written on it sold extremely well.

And of course the all-time favorites also made cash registers ring this Christmas season. Jewelry, watches, espresso machines and clothes were sold en masse - not to forget the ever-popular ties for men.

All I want for Christmas...

As far as Christmas-wishes were concerned, traditional gifts didn't top the lists of German kids and teenagers this year. The things six to 19-year-olds in Germany wanted most were mobile phones (40%), TV-sets (33%), computers (31%) and VCRs (29%).

As a matter of fact, all top ten Christmas wishes for this group were electronic entertainment devices. Other favorites included stereos, computer games and gaming consoles.

The most popular non-electronic Christmas wish in the 6 to 19 age-group this year was a bicycle - but only 11 percent of the kids had that on their list of Christmas wishes this year.

After-Christmas sales

Shops in Germany are closed on December 25th and 26th. They'll reopen on Thursday.

And German shop-owners are already looking forward to the days after Christmas: that's when people will flock to the stores to redeem gift-certificates and take advantage of after-Christmas sales.

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