U.K. Retail Woes Endure Ahead of Brexit, CBI Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- The brutal conditions facing U.K. retailers were confirmed by a survey published Friday.

Sales volumes were no higher this month than they were a year earlier and business remained below average, the Confederation of British Industry said.

More than 40 percent of stores complained of poor sales for the time of year, and only 4 percent said they were above average. That’s the worst reading since the end of 2011.

The survey, carried out between Dec. 27 and Jan. 15, reinforces New Year warnings from companies including Halfords and John Lewis. Brexit is being widely blamed, with fears that Britain could leave the European Union with no deal pushing consumer confidence to its weakest since 2013.

Six out of nine retail sectors reported falling sales over the past year, with clothing stores faring the worst. A third of retailers cut jobs and the vast majority expect conditions to stay the same or deteriorate over the next three months, though some pickup in sales volumes is expected in February.

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