Germany's retail sales declined at the fastest pace since 2007 in March as most of the stores were closed to contain the spread of coronavirus, data from Destatis revealed Thursday.
Retail turnover fell by a real 5.6 percent on a monthly basis, in contrast to a 0.8 percent rise in February.
This was the biggest fall since January 2007. However, sales were forecast to decline more markedly by 7.3 percent.
Year-on-year, retail sales decreased 2.8 percent, confounding expectations for a growth of 1.5 percent. Sales had increased 6.5 percent in February.
There was a strong demand for essential goods and medicines. Sale of food, beverages and tobacco increased 8.9 percent annually, while non-food sales declined 10.1 percent.
In nominal terms, retail turnover decreased 5.7 percent on month and was down 1.5 percent from last year in March.