- U.K. retail sale volumes fell unexpectedly in May, dampening optimism over the health of the country’s economy, industry data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, the Confederation of British Industry said the result of its index of U.K. retailers dropped by 14.0 points to a reading of 16.0 this month from 30.0 in April. Analysts had expected the index to increase by 5.0 point to 35.0 in May.

On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates higher sales volume, below indicates lower.

The survey of 136 firms showed that retailers expect a faster rise in sales next month, and expect their business situation to improve over the coming quarter.

Barry Williams, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel said, “Although that growth was at a slower rate than expected, the fact we’ve seen a steady increase for six consecutive months is a sign we’re heading towards sustainable growth and strengthening consumer optimism.”

Following the release of that data, the pound held on to losses against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.25% to trade at 1.6768.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mixed. London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.1%, the Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 inched down 0.1%, while Germany''s DAX tacked on 0.1%.

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