German retail sales jump in March as lockdown measures ease

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German retail sales posted their biggest year-on-year increase in March since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed on Monday, as the relaxation of some lockdown measures boosted purchases of clothes and shoes.

The Federal Statistics Office said retail sales jumped 11.0% compared to the same month a year earlier in real terms after an upwardly revised fall of 6.6% in February. The March reading overshot a Reuters forecast for a decline of 0.3%

Sales of textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods rose 27.7% compared to the same month a year earlier, while retail trade with goods sold in department stores was up 23%.

Online retailers continued to benefit from shifting consumer habits with sales up 42.9% compared with a year earlier.

German states started allowing shops to offer so-called appointment shopping deals, called “click and meet” in March.

Photo: People wearing masks wait for entering a shopping mall in front of signs reading ‘Please keep distance. At the moment we can let only 300 customers in the store at the same time.’ face masks on a street in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/HAYOUNG JEON