German retail sales post biggest drop since euro launch
German retail sales fell by 1.8 percent last year, final figures released Tuesday by the national statistics service showed, the biggest decline since euro notes and coins were introduced in 2002.
While the figure was better than an earlier estimate of a 2.0 percent drop, it suggested that Europe's biggest economy "will most likely have expanded only slightly" in the last three months of 2009, Commerzbank analyst Simon Junker said.
Consumption has nonetheless resisted better than expected as Germany's economy suffered its worst post-war recession, with activity contracting by 5.0 percent overall last year.
Sales picked up by a provisional 0.8 percent in December compared with November, slightly below analyst forecasts for 0.9 percent compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.
"Apparently, German consumers did not let the financial crisis ruin their Christmas shopping," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said.