LONDON – British retailers saw their sales fall this month as the cost-of-living squeeze tightened, a Confederation of British Industry survey showed on Thursday.
The CBI‘s monthly retail sales balance fell to +9 from +14 in February. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to +10.
The CBI‘s sales-for-the-time-of-year gauge suffered a big fall, sinking to -23 from February’s +16.
“Retailers had a mediocre March, with sales reported as being below seasonal norms,” Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said.
“The cost-of-living crisis is looming large across the sector, as households’ wallets are being hit by the fastest rate of inflation in decades.
Sartorious said a half-yearly budget update announced by finance minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday outlined new support for people on low incomes.
“But further action will be needed to galvanise consumer confidence, shore up incomes, and support spending on UK high streets in the tough months to come,” he said.