U.K. Recovery Shows Signs of Waning as Retail Sales Decline
Pedestrians walk past an empty storefront in London, U.K. (Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

U.K. Recovery Shows Signs of Waning as Retail Sales Decline

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Retail sales fell at the fastest pace since June this month, a fresh sign that the U.K.’s fragile economic recovery is faltering.

Demand at department stores and clothing outlets slumped, while grocery sales flatlined for the first time since the height of the national lockdown, according the Confederation of British Industry. A bleak outlook among retailers saw them cut orders with suppliers for an 18th month, even as they prepare for the traditionally busy Christmas shopping period.

The report by the U.K.’s biggest business lobby suggests a new round of restrictions and mounting concerns about job losses are starting to weigh on consumers. The Office for National Statistics recorded the biggest quarterly jump in retail sales on record in the three months through September, but it won’t publish data for this month until Nov. 20.

There were some bright spots for stores with strong growth in furniture, home improvements and recreational goods. Internet shopping also picked up as the pandemic continued to shift sales online.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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