January 31, 2018 / 12:21 PM / a year ago

German retailers worried about threat of city driving bans

BERLIN (Reuters) - German retailers are concerned that a possible ban on diesel cars in major cities could hit their sales and push more people to shop online, the sector’s industry association said on Wednesday.

Germany’s highest administrative court is expected to rule in February on whether cities should impose driving bans on diesel cars to help reduce air pollution.

The HDE retail association said a survey of its members showed that 70 percent of traders feared that sales would be hit, while 73 percent expect consumers to shift more online.

“The inner cities must remain reachable for customers as well as for retail deliveries,” HDE president Josef Sanktjohanser told a news conference.

The German government has agreed a range of measures to help municipalities tackle diesel pollution to try to avert a driving ban, but environmentalists doubt they go far enough.

Earlier on Wednesday, the HDE said it expects German retail sales will rise by 2 percent this year, slowing from 4.1 percent growth in 2017, with half of the increase coming from ecommerce, which it expects to grow by 9.7 percent.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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