German retail sales up by 1.9 per cent in November

November figures exceed market expectations, with spending on online and mail delivery orders, household decorations and building materials leading the way


German retail sales rose in November, while employment was slightly down, as Europe’s largest economy continues to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Defying the markets, which had anticipated a contraction, retail sales rose 1.9 per cent in November, the Federal Statistics Office revealed, adding that it expects sales to have grown around 4 per cent for 2020 as a whole, exceeding 2019’s 3.2 per cent expansion.

November’s biggest gainers were online and mail delivery orders, where revenues rose 31.8 percent year-on-year; spending on household decorations, appliances and building materials rose 15.4 per cent.

Retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco were higher by 0.8 per cent in real terms and 3.4 per cent in nominal terms in November 2020 than in November 2019. Sales in mixed retail, including department stores, fell by 6.1 per cent.

At the same time, the seasonally adjusted number of people  employed in Germany fell slightly by 11,000 − negligible in percentage terms − in November 2020 compared with the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office said.

The number of persons in employment is therefore still below the pre-crisis level. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the employment figure in November 2020 was down by 1.6 per cent, or 708,000, on February 2020, the month before restrictions were imposed.

According to estimates based on the labour force survey, 1.94 million people were unemployed in November 2020. That was an increase of 15,000, or 0.5 per cent, on October 2020 and a 593,000 increase compared with November 2019. 

Germany is expected to further extend its tougher anti-covid restrictions as infection rates have remained high.


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