Retail sales in Germany fell unexpectedly in December, wiping out the modest rise seen the previous month, official data showed on Thursday.
Retail sales declined by 1.7 percent in December compared with November, in price, seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms, according to provisional figures by the federal statistics office Destatis.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a modest increase of 0.2 percent following a rise of 0.6 percent in November.
On a 12-month basis, retail sales were down even more sharply by 4.7 percent in December. But that was because there were two fewer shopping days in December in 2012 than in 2011, the statisticians said.
Monthly retail sales data are volatile and subject to frequent revision.
Taking 2012 as a whole, retail sales slipped by 0.3 percent, Destatis calculated.