LONDON (Reuters) – British retail gross sales fell within the yr to February as shops reduce jobs at a fast price, with solely supermarkets reporting any development in the course of the newest COVID-19 lockdown, a survey confirmed on Thursday.
The Confederation of British Trade’s gauge of retail gross sales stood at -45, up solely barely from January’s eight-month low of -50. The measure factors to falling gross sales and is beneath the consensus forecast of -38 in a Reuters ballot of economists.
Retailers’ expectations for March – when non-essential outlets will stay closed to the general public as a part of lockdown measures – fell to -62, the bottom for the reason that sequence started in 1983.
In one other signal of a altering client habits throughout lockdown, the survey’s gauge of web retail gross sales hit a brand new document excessive.
“With lockdown measures nonetheless in place, buying and selling situations stay extraordinarily tough for retailers,” mentioned Ben Jones, principal economist on the CBI.
“Document development in web procuring means that retailers’ investments in on-line platforms and click-and-collect companies could also be paying off, however the re-opening of the sector cannot come quickly sufficient to guard jobs and breathe life again into the sector.”
Job losses amongst retailers accelerated in keeping with a quarterly query within the survey. For the distribution sector as a complete, which incorporates wholesalers and automotive sellers, employment fell at a document price, the CBI survey confirmed.
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