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Reuters
Published
Nov 8, 2008
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German retail group expects stagnant sales in '09

By
Reuters
Published
Nov 8, 2008

FRANKFURT, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Germany's HDE retailers' group said it expected stagnating sales next year although they should still hold up in the 2008 Christmas season, Wirtschaftswoche magazine reported on Saturday.



In advance extracts from an article for its Nov. 10 edition, the magazine quoted HDE president Josef Sanktjohanser as saying, "It's no secret: 2009 will be tougher. We tend to broadly expect stagnation."

Fashion and specialist stores and department stores in Europe's biggest economy were likely to be hit by weakened consumer confidence while food retailers were not as vulnerable, he said.

There would not be any help to retailers from billions of euros in rescue funds offered by the government to ailing banks caught up in the worldwide financial crisis, as the effects of the package could evaporate soon, he said.

Tax cuts instead of bank aid would have helped wider segments of the population and would have boosted spending, he said..

For Christmas business this year, Sanktjohanser said he was "still relatively optimistic".

Before the financial crisis, unemployment had fallen, incomes had risen, soaring energy costs had started to decline and Christmas bonuses had been resurrected, which should all allow for increased purchases.

The HDE said in September it was sticking to a forecast made in July that German retail sales would increase this year by 1.5 percent in nominal terms.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by David Stamp)

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