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UK retail sales plummet, recession risk mounts

British retail sales fell much more than expected in August, in another sign that the economy is slipping into recession as the cost-of-living crisis squeezes expendable household spending.

Retail sales volume dropped 1.6% month on month in August, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) said, the biggest drop since December 2021 and worse than all forecasts in a survey by Reuters with economists who pointed to a drop of 0.5%.

“With a tough winter just around the corner, it will be a concern for retailers that shoppers have already contained their spending despite the hot summer,” said Lynda Petherick, retail leader at Accenture.

All major retail sectors fell in the month for the first time since July 2021, when Covid-19-related restrictions were lifted, the ONS said.

The period of mourning following Queen Elizabeth’s death poses another challenge for retailers, with widespread business closures on Monday to mark the monarch’s funeral.

“The gloomy atmosphere in the UK this week and news of sluggish economic growth will heighten concern among retailers as the weather turns colder,” said Petherick.

Although inflation dropped below 10% last month, households are still facing the biggest price increases since the early 1980s, mainly caused by rising energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(Additional reporting by James Davey)

Source: CNN Brasil

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