German January retail sales bounce back after dismal end to 2018

German January retail sales bounce back after dismal end to 2018
FILE PHOTO: People walk through the Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo -
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BERLIN (Reuters) - German retail sales jumped by 3.3 percent on the month in January, posting the strongest rise since October 2016 and more than offsetting a sharp drop in December, official figures showed on Friday.

Sales rose by 2.6 percent on the year, Germany's Federal Statistics Office said in a statement. The sharp monthly rebound marked a turnaround from December, when sales fell by 3.1 percent on the month.

Household spending has become a key growth driver in recent years as Germans benefit from record-high employment and low borrowing costs but retail sales are a volatile indicator often subject to revision.

The good mood among German shoppers was unchanged heading into March, a GfK survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting that household spending will support overall economic growth in the first quarter of this year.

(Reporting by Rene Wagner; Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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