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Christmas retail bonanza is big gift to German economy

Christmas retail bonanza is big gift to German economy
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German retailers have been celebrating a very merry Christmas.

The country’s Retail Association says the last time Germans splashed as much cash was five years ago.

Christmas spending in Germany is up 2.5 percent on last year with analysts expecting revenues will top 77 billion euros.

And the shops remain packed – with many returning unwanted gifts.

One shopper was bringing back a card shuffler:

“I bought it for my grandfather, but he didn’t like it at all. Now I have exchanged it, and he gets a gift voucher.”

The popularity of vouchers has soared in Germany.

Studies estimate they made up around half of presents this Christmas.

Retailers now hope that the strong sales will continue into next year.

Kai Falk, from the German Retail Association, says he is quite optimistic for 2011:

“On the one hand, employment figures are looking good and on the other there is the positive business climate in general. Both are good news for retailers and consumers.”

Electronic goods, like the iPad, have helped fuel the German retail boom.

Germany’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce now expects growth to march up to 2.4 percent next year.