According to the retail association HDE, Christmas business is gradually picking up speed. After only 15 percent of retail companies were satisfied with how the Christmas business had gone so far in November and December, in the week before the first Advent at least a third of retailers rated the sales development as positive. This comes from a trend survey among around 350 companies, said the German Trade Association (HDE) in Berlin.

“Even if there is no great momentum so far, it is clear that things started to go better in the week before the first Advent,” said HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth. However, there is still significant room for improvement in the coming weeks. Currently 54 percent of companies are dissatisfied with their sales.

This is particularly true for clothing and footwear retailers. The reason is also weak customer frequencies, especially in city centers. According to HDE, almost two thirds of the retailers surveyed from city centers reported visitor numbers below the previous year’s level. Retail companies in urban suburbs, district centers and commercial areas are significantly happier.

The winners of the past few days have been retailers from the food, electronics, toys and sporting goods sectors. It also shows that satisfaction is higher in larger companies than in smaller ones. “The Christmas business hasn’t really gotten off to a good start yet. However, the coming weeks of the Advent season traditionally provide the highest sales time of the year for many retailers,” said Genth. The HDE forecasts sales of just over 120 billion euros for the Christmas business. This corresponds to an increase of 1.5 percent compared to the previous year.