July retail sales drop marks longest period of decline since 2011

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July retail sales
// Retail sales fell for the third consecutive month in the year to July, according to the latest CBI monthly Distributive Trades Survey
// This marks the longest period of decline since 2011
// Grocers the largest contributor to headline sales growth but this was offset by declines in department stores & fashion

Retail sales declined for a third consecutive month in July, marking the longest stretch of decline since 2011, according to the CBI.

The CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey, a monthly gauge of retail sales, showed that sales volumes fell in the year to July to an index reading of -16.

However, this decline was smaller than June’s decline, when the index read -42.

The CBI said grocers were the largest positive contributor to headline sales growth this month, reversing fortunes after a large fall last month.

Despite this, it was more than offset by declines in other categories, particularly department stores and fashion.

Meanwhile, growth in online sales recovered after flattening out in the year to June – although growth remains below the long-run average and is expected to edge lower in the year to August.

The CBI anticipated that the economy would grow “modestly” in the months ahead, but warned that a no-deal Brexit would “likely hit activity and financial markets significantly”.

“Whilst last year’s summer strength in retail sales is driving some of the comparative weakness this year, it is still hugely concerning that sales have fallen for the longest period in almost eight years,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

“The UK economy has reached a fork in the road.

The new Prime Minister must now do everything in his power to achieve a good Brexit deal, thus protecting jobs and our economy.”

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