Retailers’ Christmas cheer tempered by fragility of recovery

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Retailers in Europe are predicting their best Christmas since the financial crisis, though optimism is laced with caution in the face of rising e-commerce and early discounting in a fragile economic recovery. Record unemployment and shrinking disposable incomes over the past few years have kept the brake on consumer spending, which generates about two thirds of gross domestic product. But retailers are drawing confidence from signs of improving shopper sentiment as they negotiate the key Christmas period. The average family budget for Christmas gifts across Europe should rise this year for the first time since 2008, gaining 0.7 percent to about 450 euros ($620), though it remains below pre-crisis levels, a survey by consultants Deloitte showed.

    

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