German retail sales are expected to have grown around 4% during 2020 following a buoyant November, the country's Statistics Office has said, indicating that consumers spent their way through the broader economic damage wrought by the coronavirus.
Retail sales rose 1.9% in November, against analysts' expectations of a contraction, thanks to very strong growth in online sales and in spending on home improvements, the office said.
That month's figures relate to a period when Germany was in partial lockdown, with shops still open. Most shops were forced to close from mid-December when curbs were tightened to contain surging infection rates.
The Statistics Office said its provisional full-year growth figure - contrasting with an expected drop of 5.5% in gross domestic product, according to Bundesbank data - included December's full lockdown.
It also said the estimate was "freighted with greater uncertainties" than usual due to the pandemic.
November's biggest winners were in online and delivery retail, where revenues rose 31.8% compared to November 2019, while spending on household decorations, appliances and building materials rose 15.4%.
Sales from supermarkets and sales of food and tobacco grew modestly.
Retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco products achieved a 0.8% (real) and 3.4% (nominal) increase in sales in November 2020 compared to November 2019. Sales in supermarkets, hypermarkets and hypermarkets were up 1.3% in real terms and 3.9% in nominal terms on the same month last year.
Clothing sales fell 20%, while mixed retail – a category including department stores – was down 6.1%.