Because of closed shops, the retail trade in Germany suffered a sharp drop in sales, as the Federal Statistical Office has just announced. In April, sales decreased by 6.5 percent on a like-for-like basis compared to the same month in the previous year. Compared to the previous month of March, sales fell by a good 5 percent - this is the strongest decline compared to a previous month since January 2007.

Non-food retail slumped 14.5 percent. The loss in sales of textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods was particularly large at more than 70 percent. There was a partial increase in demand for the open stores: above all for food, beverages and tobacco, where sales grew by 6.2 percent.

One of the winners of the crisis was Internet and mail order, with sales up more than 24 percent compared to the same month last year. Since many shops were only allowed to reopen after the end of April and consumers were afraid of infections, they are still buying and buying more and more online.

Loss in sales by 75 percent

On the other hand, many solo self-employed workers are worried that the crisis has hit the crisis particularly hard, according to a study by the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research (ZEW): one in four self-employed people without employees think it very likely that they will have to give up in the next twelve months. Almost 60 percent of the approximately 16,000 respondents saw monthly sales plummet by more than 75 percent. At the time of the survey, every second person was no longer able to work.

Accordingly, more than half of the solo self-employed have applied for emergency aid from the federal or state government, which is set to last three months. However, 35 percent expect the phase of significantly lower sales to continue for more than six months.

According to ZEW, consumer-related sectors such as gastronomy and accommodation, events and shows, tourism and sport, as well as wellness, hairdressers and cosmetics are hit hardest by the crisis. About nine out of ten solo self-employed people would have to cope with a drop in sales of more than 75 percent.