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FOOTBALL

Football teams turn pink for women’s wallets

Do sports fans look pretty in pink? At least one-top flight German football team thinks so as it tries to appeal to the growing female segment of its fan base.

Football teams turn pink for women's wallets
Photo: DPA

FC Bayern Munich produces everything from pink handbags, jewellery and even underwear specifically for its female fans who now constitute 10 to 15 percent of the buyers of team gear, according to Die Zeit newspaper.

Other teams are also scrambling to figure out how to get into women’s wallets, as they become more interested in football.

The number of German women who say they are interested in football has increased by about 25 percent to 25 million over the last decade, according to Die Zeit.

Meanwhile, 15 million women say they are fans of a specific football club, 40 percent more than in 1998. The number of female visitors to football matches has doubled over the same period.

Much of the interest could be attributed to the success of Germany’s women’s national football squad, which has won two world cups over the past decade. But the Bundesliga has been actively courting them too.

Casual, fashion-conscious fans are also being targeted by teams creating trendy-looking products like high-quality polo shirts and sweaters that might seem more likely to be sold in fancy clothing shops than football stadiums.

“The clubs have especially great growth potential in this area,” said Peter Rohlmann of the PR Marketing public relations agency, which studies sports marketing.

This is just one way in which German football teams have bucked worries that they could be affected by Europe’s growing financial crisis. In fact, in 2011 they grossed €165 million from licensing and merchandise sales alone – a 15 percent increase over the previous season.

The Local/mdm

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ECONOMY

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine is slowing down the economy and accelerating inflation in Germany, the Ifo Institute has claimed.

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

According to the Munich-based economics institute, inflation is expected to rise from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in March. This would be the steepest rise in consumer prices since 1982.

Over the past few months, consumers in Germany have already had to battle with huge hikes in energy costs, fuel prices and increases in the price of other everyday commodities.

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With Russia and Ukraine representing major suppliers of wheat and grain, further price rises in the food market are also expected, putting an additional strain on tight incomes. 

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is set to put a dampener on the country’s annual growth forecasts. 

“We only expect growth of between 2.2 and 3.1 percent this year,” Ifo’s head of economic research Timo Wollmershäuser said on Wednesday. 

Due to the increase in the cost of living, consumers in Germany could lose around €6 billion in purchasing power by the end of March alone.

With public life in Germany returning to normal and manufacturers’ order books filling up, a significant rebound in the economy was expected this year. 

But the war “is dampening the economy through significantly higher commodity prices, sanctions, increasing supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products as well as increased economic uncertainty”, Wollmershäuser said.

Because of the current uncertainly, the Ifo Institute calculated two separate forecasts for the upcoming year.

In the optimistic scenario, the price of oil falls gradually from the current €101 per barrel to €82 by the end of the year, and the price of natural gas falls in parallel.

In the pessimistic scenario, the oil price rises to €140 per barrel by May and only then falls to €122 by the end of the year.

Energy costs have a particularly strong impact on private consumer spending.

They could rise between 3.7 and 5 percent, depending on the developments in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the German government’s ability to source its energy. 

On Wednesday, German media reported that the government was in the process of thrashing out an additional set of measures designed to support consumers with their rising energy costs.

The hotly debated measures are expected to be finalised on Wednesday evening and could include increased subsidies, a mobility allowance, a fuel rebate and a child bonus for families. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s proposals for future energy price relief

In one piece of positive news, the number of unemployed people in Germany should fall to below 2.3 million, according to the Ifo Institute.

However, short-time work, known as Kurzarbeit in German, is likely to increase significantly in the pessimistic scenario.

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