Retailers report merry sales for holidays

Retailers report merry sales for holidays
That's right my little minions. Shop on. Ho, ho, ho. Photo: DPA
Holiday shoppers are digging deeper into their wallets than expected this year despite the tough economy, a German retailer association said on Tuesday.

After a sluggish start to the Advent shopping season, the Teutonic Yuletide spirit has kicked in and retail sales for 2009 are expected to come in close to 2008 levels. Some €73 billion is likely to pass through the fingers of store cashiers in November and December.

“The mood is not affected by the crisis, neither with the consumers nor the sellers,” German Retail Association (HDE) spokesman Hubertus Pellengahr said, adding that he predicted the third weekend of December would be the biggest shopping days of the year.

Germany’s largest consumer research institute, the GfK, said that consumer sentiment was stable as most companies have decided to pay out holiday bonuses and low interest rates make saving unattractive.

And a recent survey by national pollster Forsa revealed that the majority of German workers spend their bonuses on holiday gifts.

The cooler temperatures expected in coming weeks should also help encourage shoppers, HDE’s Pellengahr said, explaining that retail sales have suffered more from warm weather than the financial crisis.

The Berlin-Brandenburg trade association director Günter Päts reported that the German capital could see a rash of purchases from foreign visitors who consider it to be an affordable shopping destination ahead of the holidays.

Meanwhile clothing retailers reportedly had a “golden October” and have not seen a predicted reduction in sales.

“The profits did not drop as feared,” Jürgen Dax from the BTE German textile trade association said, adding that sales will likely be comparable to last year’s.

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