LONDON (Reuters) - Retail sales slumped in April to their lowest level since November 2005 and retailers said they expected a gloomier picture in May, a survey indicated on Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry said its distributive trade survey’s reported sales balance fell to -26 this month from +1 in March, while its expected sales balance dropped to -15, the lowest since December 2005.
The survey showed that big-ticket items, particularly those linked to the housing market, were particularly hard hit. Sellers of durable household goods reported a sales balance of -84, the weakest since October 2005.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of -3, as had retailers themselves.
“There is no doubt that consumers are tightening their belts as the mood about the economy and its outlook worsens,” said Ian McCafferty, economic adviser to the CBI.
“The survey needs to be seen in the context of the timing of Easter this year and the poor weather which have further dampened sales this month,” he said in a statement.
The survey was conducted between March 27 and April 16.