Retail Sales in the UK Weakest in 16 Months

Retail sales across the UK were the weakest for 16 months during September, according in the CBI business group. The most recent Distributive Trades Survey found that only 24% of retailers claimed to have higher sales for September 2011 than 2010, whilst 39% said sales had dropped.

 This is the poorest measure since May 2010 with a balance of -15%; the figures were however as analysts expected. The CBI cited high prices, low wage growth and increasing unemployment among the reasons for the slump. Consumers are continuing to restrict their spending to necessary items, which they are buying at the best price available.

The CBI also found that many retailers are less than optimistic over next month’s figures, with a predicted sales balance of -14% for October. As the rise in utility costs is felt as the weather gets colder, many households will find their budgets further squeezed in October and retail figures will suffer further. Figures from the Office for National Statistics currently show that August saw retail sales fall by 0.2%.

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