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Retail sales in the UK and Germany give an early read of the European economy

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Retail sales in the UK and Germany give an early read of the European economy

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

29 Mar 2021

The second quarter of 2021 should have been a time for economies reopening, and all eyes are on the UK and Germany to give an indication of consumer sentiment and retail sales.

The UK and Germany Spend Insight Report by Fable Data shows UK spending the week of 15 March was up 1 percent on 2020 and down 1 percent YoY on a rolling 28 day basis. Relative to 2019 levels, last week’s spend is down 6 percent.

Germany, in comparison, saw a 12 percent rise in spending in the same period as lockdown restrictions were eased. Relative to 2019 levels, last week’s spend is down 5 percent. Sales of clothing and apparel was up 109 percent over last year, in sharp contrast to just two weeks ago when it was down 7 percent.

In the UK department stores saw an uptick of 59 percent, as click and collect and appointment shopping become the new normal. High Street shopping in the UK remains challenging and is down 50 percent compared to 2019 with much of the retail sector still closed. In Germany, with a partial reopening of some retail stores, spend is broadly in line with 2019 levels and is significantly up relative to March 2020 spend.

Easter will be a challenging time for UK retailers as stores continue to remain shut. In Germany partially opened retailers are expected to see an increase in spending.