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Slump in UK retail sales eases in September, CBI says

British retailers reported a smaller annual fall in sales for September than during the previous month and expect a modest improvement in the months ahead, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Monday.

The CBI’s September monthly retail sales survey – conducted between Aug. 25 and Sept. 13 – showed the headline balance rebound to a three-month high of -14 from August’s more than two year low of -44.

“There are some elements of optimism in our survey with retailers expecting the recent fall in sales to continue to ease,” CBI Principal Economist Martin Sartorius said.

“Last week’s lower than expected inflation figures, which in turn will ease pressure on household budgets, will also give retailers some hope going into the crucial autumn and winter trading period,” he added.

Retailers’ expected sales balance for October rose to a three-month high of -8.

Britain’s most recent official retail sales data showed a 0.8% month-on-month growth in sales volumes in August after a sharp 1.1% drop in July, when unusually wet weather upset normal summer spending patterns.

Consumer price inflation also fell unexpectedly last month, dropping to 6.7% from July’s 6.8%, its lowest level in 18 months and prompting the Bank of England to hold off from raising interest rates last week.

However, the CBI did warn that higher oil and fuel prices “could mean sticky inflation is with us for a while longer.”

The chief executive of supermarket Aldi UK said on Monday that cost of living concerns continued to influence food shopping habits.
Source: Reuters

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