UK retailers report wide fall in volumes for August

Thursday, 22. August 2019 12:02

Results of a monthly poll conducted by the Confederation of British Industries showed the steepest decline in business expectations in ten and a half years. Volumes and orders in the retail sector narrowed at the fastest pace since December 2008 in the past year. Its headline was the second worst ever. The index of all distributive trades landed 24 points lower than in July, at 35% below zero, while the retail balance surprisingly crashed 29 points to a negative 49%. The sentiment measure tumbled to minus 25%.

The demand subindex weakened by 48 points to a subzero print of 57%. The expected sales were gauged at 10% in the hole versus 3% the last time and investment intentions are at minus 19%.

"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," CBI's deputy chief economist Anna Leach said and cited the risk of no-deal Brexit but also cumulative costs, business rates and the apprenticeship levy. The ratio of inventories and sales outlook matched a record high from November 2014 and employment continued to drop.

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