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Feb 1, 2023
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HDE forecast for 2023: decline in turnover excepted for retail trade

Translated by
Feb 1, 2023

Germany's HDE surveyed almost 900 retail companies on their sales prospects for the current year. According to the study, almost half of Germany's retail trade expects sales to be at or just above the previous year's level, about one third expect sales to be slightly below, and 18% anticipate a significant decline in sales.


"Although it is still facing difficult conditions, retail is holding its own in 2023. However it is losing ground slightly. The number of businesses in the retail sector will continue to decline. The environment remains characterised by uncertainty, but digitalisation continues to offer great opportunities," says HDE president Alexander von Preen

The HDE itself expects a price-adjusted decline in sales of three percent for the current year. The forecast of minus three percent in real terms corresponds to a nominal plus two percent, according to the association. 

Online trade remains the growth driver. For this sub-sector, the HDE expects a nominal increase of eight percent compared to the previous year, which corresponds to a price-adjusted growth of four percent.

In the HDE survey, 36% of the respondents said they run their own online shop, 19% sell goods via online marketplaces and some use both models. However, the majority, 56%, do not sell goods on the internet.

"Digitalisation has since become a big part of the retail sector. It also offers great opportunities for the more than 50% of our traders who currently do not offer goods on the internet," said von Preen. 

After the corona-related business closures, the small and medium-sized businesses need to be supported in the future with coaching and depreciation options, as financial reserves are exhausted due to the crisis, pleads von Preen.

For the trade to succeed it is also crucial to counteract the lack of skilled employees. Despite the crisis the sector has continued to expand its job offer over the past years, but it is not able to fill all jobs. 

Currently, according to the figures of the Federal Employment Agency, more than 3.1 million people are employed in the retail sector as of June 30, 2022, which corresponds to an increase of 1.6% compared to June 2021. However, the HDE survey shows that 63% of retailers suffer from a shortage of labour. 

Von Preen: "In the future, we must do an even better job of selling and valuing the retail trade and its jobs with a variety of development opportunities. Figures from the Federal Employment Agency showed that more than 50,000 jobs in the sector were vacant. This poses great challenges - especially for an industry in transition."

To counteract this shortage, the HDE recently launched a training campaign called "Karriere Handel" (Career trade). In addition, the association is calling for an investment and innovation initiative for vocational schools and more recognition for the opportunities and advantages dual vocational training can offer.

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