Thursday 27 June 2019

UK retail sales stall as Brexit looms

'Brexit uncertainty has also hit consumer confidence.' Stock image
'Brexit uncertainty has also hit consumer confidence.' Stock image

Andy Bruce

UK retail sales stagnated in January following a sharp fall in December, according to an industry survey that underlined tough trading conditions for retailers ahead of Brexit.

The Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) monthly retail sales balance rose to zero from -13 in December.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of +2.

Despite the improvement in January, the survey largely fitted with signs that consumer spending has weakened since mid-2018, when the soccer World Cup and warm weather fuelled expenditure.

Brexit uncertainty has also hit consumer confidence.

Despite the limited time left before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, there is no agreement in London on how it should exit the world's biggest trading bloc, and a growing chance of a 'no-deal' exit with no provision to soften the economic shock.

The CBI said it saw signs that some wholesalers were stockpiling goods in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.



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