For the third month in a row to January UK retail sales have flatlined and retailers are bracing themselves for a “tough year.”
The CBI said sales were “poor for the time of year” and they will remain below normal for this time of year to February.
Anna Leach, CBI deputy chief economist said, “Both official data and business surveys are painting a picture of subdued activity for retailers.
“A challenging Christmas has extended into the New Year, with little expectation of any improvement soon.”
Samuel Tombs, chief economist at consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics said the CBI’s report is unlikely to have any influence on the Bank of England’s (BoE) interest rates decision.
Tombs warned, that “the sample size has gradually declined over time and the main balances no longer are closely correlated with the official data.”
On Thursday Mark Carney the governor of the Bank of England will attend his final monetary policy committee meeting, stagnating retail sales could add further uncertainty to the economy.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club said, “It is still early days to see what impact December’s decisive general election result and imminent UK exit from the EU on 31 January with a deal has on consumer behaviour.
“The initial signs are that it has lifted confidence but this, so far at least has not translated into higher spending.”
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