Inflation and the Ukrainian war: German retail trade stagnates

Status: 05/02/2022 10:37

High inflation and the war in Ukraine mark consumption in Germany: retail sales only increase due to the high inflation rate – adjusted sales, on the other hand, stagnate.

The German retail sector is not gaining momentum given the mood of consumers suffering from high inflation and the war in Ukraine. The Federal Statistical Office reported an increase in nominal retail sales in March of 2.1% compared to February. However, the increase is solely the result of high inflation. Actual sales – that is, adjusted for prices – fell 0.1%. In February, there was still a little more than 0.1%. “Real retail sales have therefore stagnated since the start of the year,” the statisticians found.

The war in Ukraine and steep price rises had recently pushed consumer sentiment in Germany to an all-time high: the GfK Nuremberg market researchers’ barometer for May fell 10.8 points to minus 26, 5 dots.

Private consumption is currently not a growth factor

The inflation rate reached 7.4% in April, the highest level since 1981, mainly because energy costs Ukraine much more expensive after the Russian invasion. “The full force of high inflation will only really be unloaded first,” said Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe Privatbank AG chief economist Alexander Krüger. “For now, we will not rely on private consumption.” Even the federal government’s aid plan does not improve the consumer situation.

Hamster buys groceries

Retailers made 2.9% more in real terms with groceries in March than in the previous month, although here too consumption was 5.4% lower than a year earlier. There was increased demand for individual goods due to purchases of hamsters as part of the Ukrainian war – such as flour and cooking oil.

Trade in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods fell 8.4% from the previous month, while price-adjusted petrol stations even gained 11.5% less. Internet and mail order sales fell by 7.7%.

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