BERLIN, (Reuters) — German unemployment dropped more than expected in July and retail sales climbed in June, data showed on Thursday, spelling good news for private consumption which is expected to drive growth in Europe's largest economy this year.
Seasonally adjusted data from the Labour Office showed the number of people out of work decreased by 12,000 to 2.898 million. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll had been for a drop of 5,000.
"The fundamentals for German household spending are very strong. Unemployment is at long-term lows, employment at highs. Wages are rising, inflation is very low and the uncertainty of the euro crisis has faded," said Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank.
German consumer morale rose to its highest level in more than 7-1/2 years heading into August as shoppers became more upbeat about their future income prospects than at any point since 1991, helped by a robust labour market and low inflation, which currently stands at just 0.8 percent in Germany.
The jobless rate was steady at 6.7 percent, setting Germany worlds apart from euro zone peers like Greece and Spain, where around one in four people continue to be unemployed.
But some companies are still slashing jobs in Germany. Firms ranging from lighting maker Osram Licht AG and solar company SMA Solar to Commerzbank and industrial services group Bilfinger have all announced they will be trimming their workforces.
Data from the statistics office showed German retail sales rose by 1.3 percent in June in real terms on the month — their strongest rise since January and potentially a result of Germans hitting the shops at the start of the soccer World Cup.
Schulz said retail sales had risen by 1.4 percent in the first half of 2014 compared with the same period earlier, suggesting they could grow by 2.8 percent this year.
"That is a very healthy clip which should make consumption a key driver of overall demand," he said.
The German economy grew at its fastest rate in three years in early 2014 but that was largely due to mild weather so it is expected to slow or even stagnate in the second quarter before picking up again in the third.
Other recent data has pointed to a slowdown, with exports, industrial orders and production all falling. Germany's VDMA engineering body has also slashed its output forecast for this year. Surveys have shown business and investor morale weakening but consumers remain a source of support.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast