Latest CBI retail survey another sign of post-referendum resilience

Jake Cordell
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The UK economy is weathering the Brexit storm better than most expected
The UK economy is weathering the Brexit storm better than most expected (Source: Getty)

A new survey from the CBI has shown retail sales smashed expectations in August and shopkeepers expect the good news to keep on coming, in yet more evidence UK consumers are shrugging off Brexit fears and splashing the cash this summer.

The number of retailers saying volumes were better this month than they were last year stood at 35 per cent, compared to 26 per cent who said sales were down. The balance of nine was well ahead of expectations for a score of around zero and a "marked improvement" on the minus 14 recorded in July.

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The news follows strong official retail sales statistics out last week which showed despite the shock of the UK's vote to leave the EU wreaking havoc on financial markets for a few days, store sales climbed by 5.9 per cent over the year.

Official retail sales figures out last week showed a surprise jump in July.

Retailers also told the CBI they actually expect to invest more over the next year, after last month's survey showed expectations of a slash to spending.

Nevertheless, experts said the encouraging signs could be more to do with decent weather than post-referendum resilience. Ruth Gregory at Capital Economics noted: "With labour market conditions likely to deteriorate and rising inflation set to undermine real wage growth, it would be fairly surprising if retail sales growth didn’t slow at all in the aftermath of the leave vote."

While growth is expected to slow, experts did agree that another better-than-expected batch of sales figures has dealt another blow to fears about a "collapse" in consumer spending - something which could help the UK stave off a post-referendum recession.

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