Christmas business is losing momentum in Germany, with just under a quarter of retailers expressing satisfaction with pre-Christmas sales in the week before the second Advent, a recent survey by the German Trade Association (HDE) showed.
The trend survey, including more than 350 retail companies, unveiled that almost 60% of respondents were dissatisfied with the sales development in the past week.
“The week before the second Advent was noticeably weaker in retail than the first week of Advent. Many retailers are now pinning their hopes on the final spurt before the holidays,” said Stefan Genth, HDE managing director.
The study attributed low customer frequency, especially in city centres, as one of the reasons for this decline.
More than two-thirds of inner-city retailers reported a decline in visitor numbers compared to the previous year, data showed.
Overall, only 15% of the retailers surveyed said they were satisfied with how the Christmas business has gone so far.
Most recently, food, shoes, sporting goods and household goods witnessed sales spurt, according to the the survey.
Retailers are looking forward to the coming weeks of Christmas business with subdued expectations, with only a fifth of those surveyed expecting positive developments in the next few weeks.
Genth stated, “The Christmas business got off to a good start in some areas of retail. Overall, the time of the year that traditionally has the highest sales still falls short of expectations.”
Festive sales generally witness an additional impetus in the second half of December, the HDE noted.
“If the festive mood increases in the near future, it can noticeably boost Christmas business,” Genth added.
The HDE expects total sales to exceed €120 billion for this year's Christmas business in November and December, reflecting a 1.5% increase compared to last year.
Consumer sentiment in Germany recovered significantly in December, despite uncertainties related to further recovery in consumption due to the federal government’s budget, according to the latest German Trade Association (HDE) Consumption Barometer.