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[BERLIN] German shoppers cut back their spending sharply in September, official data showed on Friday, adding to concern over whether consumers will help bolster growth in Europe's top economy.
Retail sales posted the biggest monthly drop in September for more than seven years, the data showed.
German retailers' sales, which tend to be volatile and frequently revised, slumped 3.2 per cent in September compared to the figure of August, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement.
The drop was the biggest for the closely watched measure of household confidence since May 2007 and far exceeded the 0.8-per cent fall predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
On a 12-month basis, business increased by 2.3 per cent in September compared to the same month in 2013, Destatis said.
And from January to September this year, it rose by 1.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2013.
Consumer confidence in Germany halted its recent declines in October, as consumers appeared to be no longer fazed by economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a poll showed last week.
And unemployment in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, fell unexpectedly this month, shrugging off a slowing economy.
But recent data has suggested that the German economy - traditionally Europe's growth engine - is stalling, threatening to pull the eurozone back into recession and put the brakes on the global recovery.