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Reuters
Published
Aug 27, 2009
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Retail sales weaken unexpectedly

By
Reuters
Published
Aug 27, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Retail sales fell slightly faster than expected in August after a particularly sharp drop in sales of durable household goods, though there was better news from the clothing and motor trades, industry data showed on Thursday 27 August.



The CBI's distributive trades survey sales balance fell to -16 in August from -15 in July, in contrast to the improvement to -13 that economists had forecast.

For September, retailers expect a balance of -14 -- its highest since July 2008 -- compared to a forecast of -23 for August which they had given in July.

"These results round off a slow and disappointing summer for many in the high street, and the picture is not set to improve in September," said Andy Clarke, chief operating officer of Asda (WMT.N) and chairman of the survey panel.

"However, throughout the year retailers have become less and less negative about the business outlook, and that reflects increasing signs of stability in the wider economy," he added.

Motor traders' sales volumes improved to -11 in August from -76 in July, and their expectation balance for September was +6, the first positive reading since May 2008 -- even as government incentives to buy new cars come to an end. The quarterly business situation balance for retailers was its best since November last year at -2, up from -8 in May.

(Reporting by Fiona Shaikh)

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