LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales growth picked up unexpectedly in August, but major store chains anticipate sharp falls in employment in the months ahead, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly retail sales gauge rose to +29 in August from +20 in June. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a fall to +13.
Despite a strong August, the CBI said retailers were downbeat about the outlook.
The survey’s quarterly balance for employment expectations sank to its lowest level since late 2009, when Britain was still reeling from the global financial crisis.
“The summer heatwave has kept shoppers out on the high street, with consumers splurging on food and drink for barbecues and garden parties,” CBI economist Anna Leach said.
“That said, the outlook for retail remains challenging, with orders falling, prices rising, employment sliding, and investment drifting down.”
(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by Stephen Addison)