Retail sales in Germany fell more than expected in January due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the withdrawal of a temporary cut in sales tax.
The Federal Statistics Office said retail sales fell 4.5 per cent on the month in real terms after an upwardly revised decline of 9.1 per cent in December.
“This decline can be explained by the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, which meant a closure of many retail stores since December 16, 2020,” the statistics office said.
Fashion retail sales fell 76.6 per cent year-on-year, while sales of groceries were up 4.3 per cent year-on-year as supermarkets and convenience stores stayed open.
Meanwhile, online sales were up 31.7 per cent.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers closed most shops and services in mid-December after a partial lockdown for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues failed to decline the rate of virus cases.
Hairdressers have just opened their doors this week, provided they follow strict hygiene restrictions and adopt a reservations-only system. Most of the other major alterations vary from state to state.
Merkel and state premiers are due to meet again tomorrow to discuss a gradual easing of lockdown measures that are currently in place until at least March 7.
The number of coronavirus cases in Germany went up by 4,732 and fatalities went up by 60, according to figures released yesterday by the country's Robert Koch Institute.
Germany has so far seen a total of 2.5 million Covid-19 cases and 70,000 related deaths.