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German Christmas Decoration Sales to U.S. Rise on Economy, Euro

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of traditional German Christmas decorations to the U.S. are rising because of the improving U.S. economy and the euro’s decline, the industry association said.

Exports to the U.S. of Christmas decorations from the Erzgebirge region in eastern Saxony state will be worth as much as 10 million euros ($12.5 million) this year, said Dieter Uhlmann, the industry association’s head. That compares with 9.5 million euros in 2011, 9 million euros in 2010 and less than 6 million euros in 2009.

“The better economic situation in the U.S. is helping sales, as is the weaker euro,” Uhlmann, director of the Association of Erzgebirge Artisans and Toy Manufacturers, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Olbernhau, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Berlin. “Our real crash in exports to the U.S. was during the 2007-2008 crisis.”

The German Erzgebirge, or Ore Mountains, have been a manufacturing center for Christmas decorations for the past 150 years, surviving two world wars and Cold War isolation under communist East Germany until the 1990 reunification. Uhlmann said his association has 62 members and the industry employs about 2,000 people.

Nutcrackers are the most popular holiday item among American buyers and account for half of U.S. sales, with the rest consisting of Christmas tree decorations and candle-driven revolving wooden pyramids, he said.

U.S. retail sales climbed more than forecast in July as consumer spending rebounded. The 0.8 percent advance was the first gain in four months. Goldman Sachs this month raised its forecasts for U.S. economic growth this year and next.

The euro has declined 4 percent against the dollar this year. It was little changed at $1.2474 at 11:12 a.m. in Berlin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leon Mangasarian in Berlin at lmangasarian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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