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CHRISTMAS

Retailers banking on a final Christmas splurge

German retailers are still waiting for a breakthrough in their Christmas shopping business. The past week there has seen a continuing instability in sales, a spokesman for the German Retail Association (HDE) revealed.

Retailers banking on a final Christmas splurge
Photo: DPA

HDE spokesman Hubertus Pellengahr said Sunday that German Christmas shopping business had been unsatisfactory so far this year. There had been a “continual up and down”, and now retailers are hoping for “a strong final spurt” in the two weeks to the holiday. Unlike last year, Pellengahr said, the final Advent weekend is likely to be the strongest.

But the HDE’s prognosis remains that Christmas business is likely to be 1.5 percent below the level of last year.

Pellengahr said that in southern Germany sales were better, and he speculated, “The winterly cold weather there has warmed up the Christmas atmosphere and present-giving mood among consumers.”

According to the HDE, there has been a renewed demand for classic toys like dolls and board games, while the consistently high demand for games consoles and video games had also continued. Merchandise related to the Twilight saga also received particular mention in the new report.

The biggest sellers for adults have been cameras, digital picture frames, winter clothing accessories, perfumes and cosmetics.

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CHRISTMAS

German Christmas market closures ‘can’t be ruled out’: health expert

As Germany battles a fierce Covid wave, concerns are growing over events, with one health expert saying closures of the country's beloved Christmas markets can't be ruled out.

Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th.
Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Martina Wenker, president of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, said she believed Christmas markets may have to be cancelled if the Covid-19 situation gets worse in Germany. 

“Depending on the regional incidence situation, closures should not be ruled out in extreme cases,” Wenker told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“We can’t stand by and celebrate while next door in the hospitals, planned operations have to be postponed frequently, corona patients are dying, and staff in practices and clinics are at their limits.”

Wenker said regional leaders allowed the opening of Christmas markets on the basis that the Covid situation was moderate.

“But if we reach higher levels of escalation, we will have to consider whether Christmas markets are still justifiable,” she said.

Germany on Tuesday reported 32,048 Covid infections within 24 hours and 265 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence increased to 312.4 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid incidence tops 300 for first time

‘Maximum safety’

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said on Monday that he wanted to ensure there was “maximum safety” around Christmas markets.

He said it will be among the topics discussed at the Covid crisis talks between the federal government and state leaders this Thursday. 

In general, Söder said mask requirements should remain at Christmas markets as well as distance rules and other protection measures. 

In an interview with broadcaster Bayern3, Söder explained that so far there is no legal framework for Bavaria to cancel Christmas markets. “At the moment, we cannot legally order it,” he said.

Some Christmas markets, which have recently opened to the public, are already enforcing strict rules such as excluding the unvaccinated from entry, or not serving alcohol to people unless they can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. 

READ ALSO:

Vocabulary

Christmas market – (der) Weihnachtsmarkt

Celebrate – feiern

Planned operations/procedures – geplante Eingriffe 

Postponed – verschoben

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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