BERLIN (Reuters) - Shop sales in Germany fell by far more than expected in July, with customers handing over 2.2% less than in the previous month - the latest in a cluster of signs that Europe’s largest economy is losing steam.
Traditionally an export-driven economy, Germany has increasingly been reliant on domestic demand to sustain growth as the international economic environment has soured, meaning signs of retail weakness will prompt concern.
While growth compared to the same period the year before was still solid at 4.4%, the month-on-month decline was far worse than the 1% fall analysts had anticipated.
The data followed Thursday’s news of rising unemployment and slowing inflation, adding question marks over the sustainability of any growth driven by domestic demand.
Compared to the year before, Internet and mail-order sales enjoyed the biggest growth, surging 8.4% in real terms.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Mark Heinrich