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By
Reuters
Published
Aug 28, 2013
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British retail sales smash forecasts in August

By
Reuters
Published
Aug 28, 2013

LONDON, England - British retail sales rose surprisingly strongly this month and firms took on workers at the fastest pace in more than a decade, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Wednesday.

The reported sales balance in the CBI's monthly distributive trades survey jumped to +27 versus economists' forecasts for a rise to +19. That was the highest reading since last November.

The growth was broad-based, with sales of clothing, food and recreational goods performing particularly well, the CBI said.

The expected sales balance for September soared to +26, also the highest since November.

"The feel-good factor from the heat wave, summer sales, royal baby fever and sporting victories has helped boost the high street," said Barry Williams who chairs the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel.

"A rise in spending is welcome news, but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve further."

In the CBI's quarterly survey, the reported employment balance improved to its highest level since May 2002, while the business situation index rose to its highest in three years.

Official data showed earlier that retail sales rose at their fastest annual rate in over two years in July as a heat wave boosted sales of barbecue food and outdoor items, adding to signs that the economy got off to a strong start in the third quarter.

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