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Contraction in UK retail sales volumes ease significantly in February - CBI

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported on Monday its latest survey of retailers found that the retail sales volume balance improved to -7 in the year to February from -50 in January, pointing to the 10th consecutive decline in the sales volumes of the UK’s retailers, the pace of which, however, was the weakest in the current sequence. 

The report also showed that sales volumes were seen to decrease at a quicker rate next month (-15). In other survey results, selling price inflation in the year to February moderated to its lowest level since mid-2021 (+54) but remained above its long-run average (+42), with a similar annual growth forecast for March (+54). Meanwhile, employment in the retail sector reduced for the sixth successive quarterly survey (-19), with the fall set to continue next month (-20). In addition, retailers continued to predict cuts in capital spending in the year ahead (-9), while investment plans were the least negative in their two-year stint of being in the red.

Commenting on the latest survey, Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, noted that the slump in the UK’s retail activity eased in February following an exceedingly dreary start to the year. “Nevertheless, with sales expected to continue falling next month, retailers are still planning to reduce headcount and investment going forward,” he added.

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