July 1, 2020 / 7:12 AM / a month ago

German retail sales rebound in May as lockdown lifted

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks leave a supermarket, after the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia decided to make wearing protective masks obligatory in shops and public transportation to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bad Honnef near Bonn, Germany, April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German retail sales rose sharply in May, data showed on Wednesday, reflecting a rebound in private consumption as Germany lifted restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Retail sales rose by 13.9% on the month in real terms after a downwardly revised drop of 6.5% in April, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. A Reuters forecast had predicted a 3.9% increase.

On the year, retail sales rose by 3.8% in real terms after a decrease of 6.4% in the previous month.

Fear of catching the coronavirus kept many consumers away from stores, which translated into a massive increase in online sales, the data showed.

Online sales rose by 28.7% in real terms while clothing and shoes sales fell by more than 22%.

A consumer sentiment survey published earlier this month showed that German consumers had become more eager to take out their wallets and more positive about their income prospects heading into July.

Retail sales are a volatile indicator often subject to revision.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Catherine Evans

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