LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales slowed unexpectedly this month as mild weather deterred shoppers from buying winter clothes, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry indicated on Wednesday.
The sales balance in the CBI’s monthly distributive trades survey dropped to +1 from +2 in October. That was its lowest since June and wrong-footing analysts who had expected a rise to +8.
However, retailers were relatively upbeat about the outlook for Christmas. The expectations balance rose to +24 from +23.
“This is the second month in a row that retailers’ expectations for growth have been disappointed, perhaps due in part to the mild start to autumn,” said Barry Williams, a senior executive at British supermarket chain Asda (WMT.N) and chair of the CBI survey panel.
“But despite challenging conditions on the high-street, retailers remain optimistic for the Christmas period, and have taken on more employees in anticipation of a shopping rush.
A separate quarterly measure from the CBI showed retailers reporting the weakest business situation since August last year.