BERLIN  - Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, saw a surprise rise in retail sales in June, official data showed on Thursday, driven by the World Cup and consumer confidence.
Sales increased 1.3 percent in June in a month-on-month comparison after three consecutive declines, according to figures published by the federal statistics office Destatis. The report beat expectations for a 1.0-percent rise according to a poll of analysts by Dow Jones Newswires.
On a 12-month basis, business increased by 0.4 percent in June, the statisticians calculated. “At the start of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Germans headed to the shops,” Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said. “The sharp rebound ... in June embellishes what would otherwise have been a weak second quarter and sets a solid base for a much better third quarter.” Schulz noted that concerns about Russia, where the West is imposing economic sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, were weighing on investor confidence in Germany.
But he said that low unemployment — 6.7 percent in July — was still buoying an upbeat national mood among consumers.