LONDON Oct 28 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 on Monday.
The CBI distributive trades survey's retail sales balance
slumped to +2 from a 15-month high of +34 struck in September, a
much weaker outturn than the +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.
"Although the high street recovery stalled this month, there
is optimism that it was just a blip," said Barry Williams, who
chairs the CBI survey panel and is a senior executive at Asda,
Wal-Mart's British supermarket chain.
"It's also encouraging to see that signs are pointing
towards increased consumer confidence, backed up by continuing
growth in certain areas such as furniture and carpets ...
(which) all did particularly well in October."
British retail sales volumes grew 2.2 percent on the year in
September, according to official data released earlier this
month. The Office for National Statistics releases its October
retail sales data on Nov. 14.