Retail sales in Germany fell for the second month in a row in February, disappointing analysts’ forecasts for a rise, official data showed on Friday.
Retail sales dropped by 1.1 percent in February compared with January in price, seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms, according to provisional figures by the federal statistics office Destatis.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected an increase of 1.2 percent for February.
On a 12-month basis, however, retail sales rose by 1.7 percent in February, the statisticians calculated.
Monthly retail sales data are volatile and subject to frequent revision.
Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisan Piazza suggested the weaker-than-expected number “partially reflects the exceptionally adverse weather conditions, ie. heavy snowfall in first part of the month.”
However, she believed the current sluggishness in retail activity “is only the sign of caution in the current uncertain environment rather than a symptom that German domestic demand is collapsing.”
Consumer confidence had edged higher since the start of the year and the labour market showed signs of further strength, “leaving a quite favourable scenario for future spending,” the analyst said.
According to the closely-watched GfK survey, consumer confidence in Germany is set to stall next month, dented by high oil prices, but household spending should nevertheless remain robust enough to keep Europe’s biggest economy from falling into recession.