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Lockdown sees UK retail suffer worst sales since financial crisis in 2008

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Travellers at a largely empty Waterloo station, in London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Travellers at a largely empty Waterloo station, in London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Travellers at a largely empty Waterloo station, in London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

UK retailers suffered their biggest fall in sales since the 2008 financial crisis in the first half of April as the coronavirus kept shoppers at home and forced store closures, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said yesterday.

Together with official figures for March and an earlier survey from the British Retail Consortium, yesterday's numbers showed the sector was on track for a historic decline, as a boost from stockpiling food fades.

"The lockdown is hitting retailers hard. Two-fifths have shut up shop completely for now," CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.