Shopping street in Hamburg: dealers worry about the Christmas business
Photo: Nikito / IMAGO
The Germans suffer from inflation - and spend significantly less on everyday consumption.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, retail sales in October were 1.7 percent lower than in the previous month.
Adjusted for inflation (real), sales fell even more significantly at 2.8 percent.
Economists had only expected a minus of 0.6 percent.
Compared to October 2021, real sales even fell by 5.0 percent.
One reason for the reluctance to buy is probably the high inflation, which climbed to its highest level since 1951 at 10.4 percent in October.
This gnaws at the purchasing power of consumers.
In the summer quarter, real wages fell by a record 5.7 percent.
"Because of the inflation sense, consumers will keep their heads down," said the chief economist at Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe Privatbank, Alexander Krüger.
Poor consumer sentiment – which, according to GfK market researchers, fell to a record low in October – had already indicated poor sales figures.
"They're here now at the latest, and it shouldn't get any better for the time being."
Avoid giving up non-essential items
The specialist food retail trade is suffering particularly badly: Its real turnover in October was 11.2 percent lower than in the previous month, as was the trade in furnishings, household appliances and building supplies.
The Internet and mail order business, which has been booming for a long time, fell by 7.2 percent.
"The figures underpin the thesis of the beginning of the winter recession," said de chief economist at VP Bank, Thomas Gitzel.
“Consumers primarily avoid those things that are not absolutely essential to life.”
Retailers are pessimistic about the current Christmas business.
According to a survey for the German Retail Association (HDE), 70 percent expect the situation to be worse than in the previous year.
The majority of companies were dissatisfied with the sales development on the first weekend in Advent.
"The Christmas business is under the impact of the energy crisis," said HDE CEO Stefan Genth.
The HDE expects total sales of more than 120 billion euros for November and December.
That would be a nominal plus of 5.4 percent over the previous year, but after deducting rising prices, a real minus of four percent.