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British Retail Sales Fall At Fastest Pace Since 2008: CBI

British retailers reported the sharpest decline in sales volumes and orders since 2008, the Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed Thursday.

About 10 percent of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago in August, while 58 percent said they were down, giving a balance of -49 percent. A net 10 percent expects sales volumes to fall at a slower pace next month.

Further, a balance of 57 percent reported a fall in orders in August, the biggest decline since December 2008. Orders are forecast to fall again next month.

Retailers expect the biggest deterioration in business conditions since February 2009 in months ahead. About 2 percent of respondents expect the business situation to improve over the next three months, with 27 percent expecting a deterioration, giving a rounded balance of -25 percent.

Sentiment is crumbling among retailers, and unexpectedly weak sales have led to a large overhang of stocks. With investment intentions for the year ahead and employment down, retailers expect a chilly few months ahead, Anna Leach, CBI deputy chief economist, said.

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