This just about sums it up:
French shoppers, scarcely distracted by riots in March, increased spending significantly in the first quarter of this year, with purchases of household durable goods soaring, official data showed on Friday. The robust spending growth is almost certain to have helped eurozone economic growth rebound in the first quarter of 2006.
the outlook for German consumer spending remains poor â€“ highlighting the underlying weakness of the eurozone economy…..German households have been hit by falling real wages and house prices. Germans have also continued to save at a furious pace because of their fears about the future of the welfare state.