Shock drop for German retailing

German retail sales posted a surprise fall in December. Economists had expected a strong rise in retail sales of two per cent, yet the federal statistics office posted a fall of 0.3 per cent compared to November. On an annual basis, sales declined by 1.3 per cent against expectations for a 1.1 per cent increase. For the year as a whole, however, retail sales pushed up 1.2 per cent, their strongest annual gain since 2005.