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German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fell for a Third Month in June

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German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fell for a Third Month in June
A customer looks at Puma trainers displayed for sale inside a store at the Potsdamer Platz Arkade shopping mall in Berlin. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- German retail sales unexpectedly declined for a third month in June amid uncertainty about the consequences of Europe’s debt crisis.

Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, fell 0.1 percent from May, when they slipped 0.3 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. That’s the longest stretch of declines since the end of 2007, when they dropped four consecutive months. Economists had forecast a gain of 0.5 percent, the median of 23 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows. Sales rose 2.9 percent from a year ago.

“Wages are rising strongly and the labor market is stable but we’re not seeing much of those stimulating effects yet,” Andreas Scheuerle, an economist at Dekabank in Frankfurt, said before today’s report. “It’s about time for retail sales to pick up. I don’t expect them to surge in coming months but we should see moderate growth rates in the next two quarters.”

While confidence among entrepreneurs and investors declined in July as the sovereign debt crisis intensified, consumer sentiment will increase to the highest level in five months in August, according to market research company GfK SE. The Bundesbank last month raised its 2012 growth forecast to 1 percent from 0.6 percent, citing domestic consumption.

Negotiated wages increased 2.2 percent in April from a year earlier, the statistics office said yesterday. That’s the strongest gain since January 2010.

Inflation remained at 2 percent in July, and the country’s jobless rate probably held at 6.8 percent from June, according to the median of 33 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The Labor Agency will release that report at 9:55 a.m. in Nuremberg today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jana Randow in Frankfurt at jrandow@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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