Investing.com - U.K. retail sale volumes declined sharply in January, dampening optimism over the U.K.’s economic outlook, industry data showed on Thursday.
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In a report, the Confederation of British Industry said the result of its index of U.K. retailers fell by 20.0 points to a reading of 14.0 this month from 34.0 in December. Analysts had expected the index to decline by 9.0 points to 25.0 in January.
On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates higher sales volume, below indicates lower.
Grocers and furniture & carpets retailers saw sales volumes rise, whereas clothing retailers, which have been affected by unseasonably mild weather, have seen sales slump.
Retailers are expecting moderate sales growth again next month.
Barry Williams, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel said, “At a time of year when shoppers are recovering from the excesses of Christmas and watching their spending carefully, it’s encouraging that high street sales have continued to grow.”
He added that, “While retailers predict some modest growth ahead, the prospect of continually slow pay growth is likely to mean cautious consumers for some time to come.”
Following the release of that data, the pound held on to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD advancing 0.11% to trade at 1.6592.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mixed. London’s FTSE 100 inched down 0.1%, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.15%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.15%, while Germany''s DAX shed 0.15%.