German retail sales rise more than expected in February

BERLIN, March 29 (Reuters) - German retail sales rose by 0.9 percent on the month in February, lifted by more than expected in fresh positive news for Europe’s largest economy after it narrowly avoided a recession last year.

A Reuters poll had pointed to a month-on-month fall of 0.9 percent. Sales rose by 4.7 percent on the year, marked by strong growth of 9.2 percent in online and mail order purchases, Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said in a statement.

Household spending has become a key growth driver in recent years as Germans benefit from record-high employment and low borrowing costs but retail sales are a volatile indicator often subject to revision.

In another positive sign from the economy, business morale improved unexpectedly in March after six consecutive drops, a survey showed on Monday. (Writing by Paul Carrel, editing by Thomas Escritt)