DUSSELDORF — German retailer Peter Schütte has a theory. "The worse the situation gets, the better the mood is at the CPD trade show."

With apparel retail sales declining for the ninth year in a row, unemployment at an all-time high, consumer confidence at an all-time low, bankruptcies a common occurrence, plus a string of financial and political scandals, one could argue that the situation in Germany could hardly get worse. And thus, to everybody’s surprise, spirits were exceptionally high at the three-day mega trade fair, which closed here Aug. 6.

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