BERLIN German retail sales unexpectedly rose on the month in March and also jumped more strongly than predicted on the year, data showed on Friday, suggesting consumers contributed to a solid performance by Europe's biggest economy in the first quarter.
The volatile indicator, which is often subject to revision, showed retail sales edged up by 0.1 percent on the month in real terms, the Federal Statistics Office said. That surpassed expectations for a 0.3 percent dip and followed a downwardly revised increase of 1.1 percent in February.
On the year, shops sold 2.3 percent more in March, beating forecasts for a 2.0 percent increase in sales.
Consumption has become a key growth driver for the German economy, which was traditionally propelled by exports, as Germans revel in record-high employment, increased job security, rising real wages and ultra-low borrowing costs.
The data came after a GfK survey showed German consumer sentiment rebounded more than expected heading into May, citing confidence that Europe's largest economy is heading in the right direction.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Paul Carrel)