February 22, 2018 / 11:07 AM / a year ago

UK retail sales growth eases further in February: CBI

FILE PHOTO: A shopper reaches for a box of tea in a supermarket in London, Britain April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON, (Reuters) - British retail sales growth cooled for a third month running during February, adding to signs that the squeeze on households continued at the start of 2018, a survey showed on Thursday.

The CBI distributive trades survey’s retail sales balance fell to +8 in February from +12 in January. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of +13.

Britain’s economy has slowed over the past 18 months, in part because a pick-up in inflation driven by 2016’s vote to leave the European Union has eaten into consumers’ disposable income.

A quarterly version of the CBI’s survey showed investment intentions among retailers improved to its highest level since August 2015.

Official data earlier on Thursday showed business investment was flat in the fourth quarter of 2017, as overall economic growth for the period was revised down to 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter.

“With labor-intensive businesses such as retailers finding it increasingly difficult to find workers, agreeing a jobs-first transition between the EU and the UK, in writing, by the end of March would provide some much-needed certainty,” said Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by Costas Pitas

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