November 25, 2019 / 11:18 AM / 15 days ago

UK retailers see pick-up in sales, hopeful for Christmas - CBI

Shoppers during the Boxing Day sales on Oxford Street in central London, Britain December 26 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British retailers saw a stronger-than-expected improvement in sales in November and are more upbeat about the month ahead, which includes the key Christmas season, an industry survey showed on Monday.

Britain’s consumers have helped the economy through the Brexit crisis with their spending, but there have been some signs recently that shoppers are turning more cautious.

The Confederation of British Industry said on Monday its monthly index of reported sales rose to -3 in November from October’s -10, higher than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and the strongest reading since April.

The survey also showed a positive net balance of +21 among retailers when asked about sales expectations for December, up from +1 in a similar question last month which was the first positive reading since June.

“Retailers are entering the festive season with a bit of hope that sales will head up, with the strongest expectations in half a year,” CBI economist Anna Leach said.

A quarterly measure of the business situation for retailers rose to +4 from -25 in August.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 28 and Nov. 13 and was based on replies from 52 retail chains.

Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken

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