UK retail sales grind to a halt in October as supermarkets stutter

City A.M. Reporter
ANNUAL growth in British retail sales unexpectedly ground to a halt over the past month, hit by the first big fall in supermarket sales since February, the Confederation of British Industry said yesterday.

The CBI distributive trades survey’s retail sales balance slumped to plus two from a 15-month high of plus 34 struck in September, a much weaker outturn than the plus 33 forecast by economists, and breaking a three-month run of strong sales growth.

However, the CBI said retailers were forecasting a return to solid sales growth next month, and that they had increased orders placed with suppliers.

British retail sales volumes grew 2.2 per cent on the year in September, according to official data released earlier this month.

“Although the high street recovery stalled this month, there is optimism that it was just a blip,” a said Barry Williams, who chairs the CBI survey panel and is a senior executive at Asda.