Germans opened their wallets as the Christmas season started in November, providing a boost to the country's retailers and raising hopes that private consumption continues to support growth in Europe’s biggest economy.
Retail turnover rose 2.3 per cent in November from the previous month, the German Federal Statistics Office reported Friday, marking the steepest monthly increase in sales since October 2016.
The volatile indicator, which is often subject to revision, beat the consensus forecast compiled by news agency Reuters for a one percent increase and came after an upwardly revised drop of one percent in October.
On the year, retail sales climbed by 4.4 percent as Germans are still in a spending mood due to record-high employment, rising wages and low borrowing costs.
Boost to growth
But Claus Vistesen, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said German retailers were also helped by calendar effects.
"The headline likely is flattered by Black Friday sales — which [seasonal adjustments] can't adequately cope with — and the fact that November 2017 had one more shopping day than in 2016," he said.
He also noted, however, that November figures were a "much welcome rebound" from those in October, making him more confident that overall German consumption may have recovered from a brief lull in that month.
The retail sales data came after a GfK survey in late December showed consumers felt more optimistic heading into January, unperturbed by political parties' failure to form a new government.
uhe/nz (Reuters, dpa)