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March 2, 2021, 6:55 a.m. EST

German retail sales fall in January

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By Maria Martinez

Germany's retail sales declined in January due to the partial retail closure starting on Dec. 16, the German statistics office Destatis said Tuesday.

According to Destatis's provisional data, retail sales in January fell 4.5% in real terms and 3.9% in nominal terms on month. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 1.0% decline on month in real terms.

In comparison to February 2020--the month before the outbreak of Covid-19 in Germany--retail sales in January 2021 were 5.8% lower, Destatis said.

On year, retails sales declined 8.7% in real terms and 7.4% in nominal terms.

Retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco products were up 4.3% in real terms on year. While retail sales in supermarkets and hypermarkets were up 5.3% in real terms, specialist-food retailers--such as those selling fruit and vegetables, meat, bakery products or beverages--had a 3.2% decline in sales.

In nonfood retailing, sales in January were 16.4% lower in real terms than in the same month a year earlier, Destatis says. Retail trade in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods slumped by 76.6%. Household appliances and building-supplies sales declined by 43.2% in real terms compared with January 2020, Destatis says.

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com

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