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UK Retail Sales Fall Most Since 2009 Financial Crisis


UK retail sales volume declined the most since the financial crisis a decade ago with poor weather signaling weak economic growth in the second quarter, the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed Tuesday.

A balance of 42 percent reported a decline in retail sales volume in June from last year, compared to the expected level of -3 percent.

Grocers were the largest contributors to the fall in sales volumes, while the only sub-sector to see rising sales this month was internet and mail order retailers, the Distributive Trades survey revealed.

Nearly 16 percent forecast retail sales volumes to grow in July, while 27 percent expect a decrease, resulting in a balance of -11 percent.

This month's drop in sales should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the backdrop of last June's heatwave and the start of the World Cup, Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said.

But even accounting for both factors, underlying conditions on the High Street remain challenging, Paleja added.

Bank of England had downgraded its growth outlook for the second quarter to zero from 0.2 percent as stock-building ahead of the original Brexit deadline, faded.

According to the EY ITEM Club special report, consumer spending is forecast to grow at the slowest pace in six years as a slowing labor market and earnings growth could bite. The think tank forecast consumer spending to grow 1.6 percent this year and 1.7 percent in 2020.

The CBI forecast UK to return to a subdued growth path further ahead, although risks from Brexit uncertainty and global trade tensions remain heightened.

Official data last week showed that retail sales dropped for the second straight month in May due to weak clothing demand. Sales decreased 0.5 percent.

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