Nov. 30 - German retail sales dropped 2.8% ahead of the key Christmas season. The latest figures follow a raft of weak economic data suggesting Germany is no longer immune to the European debt crisis. Hayley Platt reports.
Germany's Christmas markets were in full swing but there was little interest at the shops. Retail sales for October fell 2.8 percent on the month - far more than the 0.2 forecast. Analysts had hoped consumer spending would help support the economy after earlier data showed a slow down in the country's exports. James de Bunsen from Armstrong Investment Managers says the downturn is inevitable in the current climate. SOUNDBITE: James de Bunsen, global fund manager, Armstrong Investment Managers, saying (English): "I think it's a confidence thing and until they've drawn a proper line under the structural problems in the euro zone and the risk that the euro zone disintegrates then that confidence will be lacking." A slew of weak economic data this month shows Germany's usually robust economy is no longer immune to the European debt crisis. The private sector is shrinking, industrial orders are down and output has slowed. And although Germany's labour market remains strong compared to other European countries, unemployment levels are beginning to wobble. In November the number of people out of work rose for the eighth month in a row.