The head of Germany's leading retailers' association HDE has warned Germany is heading for a recession unless the government takes urgent measures to restore confidence in the wake of September 11. Business has slowed in the German retail sector following the bombing of Afghanistan and HDE chief Hermann Franzen warned things would get worse for retailers unless the government shelved plans to increase tax on tobacco and insurance. Over 20,000 jobs in the sector are at risk, said Franzen. Retail sales are expected to fall this year for the first time since 1997, with 2002 expected to be even worse, said Franzen: "We don't need economic stimulus programmes for individual sectors but an easing of the burden for everyone." {{NEWS }}