UK retailers expect sales to decline next month and remained pessimistic about the business outlook, survey results from the Confederation of British Industry showed Thursday.
A net 2 percent of retailers said their sales volume increased in the year to February, the Distributive Trades Survey showed. This was better than the -23 percent registering a fall in sales in January and economists’ forecast of -13 percent.
However, a net 18 percent of retailers said their sales volume will decline in March.
The survey showed that a net 6 percent of retailers forecast business situation to deteriorate over the coming three months. Nonetheless, the balance improved from -22 percent in the preceding period.
On the price pressure, the survey showed that price growth remained near multi-decade highs in February. The corresponding balance fell to +80 percent from +82 percent in November. A balance of 80 percent expects prices to rise again next month.
A net 16 percent of retailers said headcount will fall next month compared to -12 percent reporting a fall in February.
The pace of decline in retail internet sales deepened in February with the balance falling to -30 percent from -4 percent in January. About 24 percent of retailers forecast internet sales to fall next month.
“At the upcoming Spring Budget, the Government must take action to tackle the roadblocks in the way of the UK’s economic growth,” CBI Principal Economist Martin Sartorius, said.
“Retailers are now looking for action in areas like skills and investment,” Sartorius added.
Official data released early this month showed that retail sales rebounded at the start of the year driven by sales promotions. Despite higher inflation, sales grew 0.5 percent in January.
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