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Germany’s retail sales declined more than expected in April, data released by Destatis revealed on Wednesday.

Retail sales declined 5.5 percent on a monthly basis, reversing March’s 7.7 percent increase. Economists had forecast sales to drop 2 percent in April.

On a yearly basis, growth in retail sales slowed to 4.4 percent from 11.6 percent in March. This was slower than the expected expansion of 10.1 percent.

Destatis said the federal emergency brake in the second half of April and the Easter business in March 2021 are very likely to have been the main reasons for the decline in sales.

Food, beverages and tobacco sales slid 3.4 percent from the last year, while non-food store sales surged 10.6 percent in April.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the crisis, retail sales were calendar and seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent lower in April. In nominal terms, retail sales decreased 5.4 percent on month, while turnover advanced 5.8 percent annually in April.

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