The HDE consumption barometer had a value of 95.1 points at the end of the third quarter of 2023; at the beginning of the quarter the value was around 0.5 points lower. A first ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, because this value corresponds to the level before the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the beginning of 2022. However, the association is not euphoric and assumes that the sluggish recovery in German consumer behavior will continue in Q4 2023.
The slow recovery in consumption and the slight decline in the economic barometer in Q3 to 85.7 points also continue to make retailers pessimistic. In addition, there are sometimes ongoing delivery problems, which still affect almost 1/3 of all retail companies. These are mostly due to increased strikes in retailers' logistics. Even companies that are doing well have to struggle with a lack of staff, which usually significantly slows down their positive development.
Perseverance and adaptability are therefore crucial in this situation. Such turbulent market phases require a cool head and forward-looking economic action in order to emerge stronger from such situations. However, after the past challenging years, not all retailers still have the necessary substance to endure the current difficult situation for long. One result is the increasing news of iconic large companies from the retail sector having to file for bankruptcy. The situation becomes fatal if mismanagement and a lack of adaptation of the business model add to the external challenges.
The entire industry must now find suitable solutions in order to remain active on the market. Not everyone will be able to do this until things pick up significantly again. However, after many years of significantly reduced insolvency rates, such a cleanup is certainly suitable for removing some dysfunctional companies from the market. However, we can now wait and see how the Christmas business develops.
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Source: Handelsverband Deutschland, DIW, dpa