British retail sales slid in November and stores are braced for a difficult December as the cost-of-living crisis grinds away at consumers, a survey showed on Monday.
The Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) monthly retail sales balance fell this month to -19 from +18 in October. Expectations for sales in the coming month fell to their lowest since March 2021, when Britain was still subject to widespread health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orders placed on suppliers dried up this month, and retailers saw scant hope of an improvement next month.
Overall the survey chimed with other indicators that show Britain's consumers are struggling with soaring inflation, which hit a new 41-year record of 11.1% in October.
“It’s not surprising that retailers are feeling the chill as the UK continues to be buffeted by economic headwinds," Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said.
The CBI's quarterly gauge of investment intentions, also published on Monday, fell to its lowest since May 2020, when much of the economy had come to a standstill under the first COVID-19 lockdown.
The survey of 65 retailers took place between Oct. 27 and Nov. 14. (Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by David Milliken)