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U.K. October Retail Sales Fall as Britons Cut Spending, BRC Says

U.K. retail sales fell in October as weak consumer confidence caused Britons to curtail spending, the British Retail Consortium said.

Sales at stores open at least 12 months, measured by value, dropped 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the London-based trade group said in an e-mailed report today. Sales rose 1.5 percent the previous month, the strongest in nine months.

“Unfortunately it looks like the modest sales revival we saw in September was something of a false dawn,” BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said. “The disappointing figures are a reminder of the difficult economic realities many are still facing. Falling consumer confidence means people are limiting spending to essential items and are cautious about committing to big-ticket and discretionary buying.”

Including stores open less than 12 months, retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month from a year earlier, the slowest pace since April, according to the BRC. In the three months through October, food sales increased 0.7 percent from a year earlier on a like-for-like basis, while non-food sales rose 0.2 percent.

Robertson said the fact that year-to-date average retail sales growth hasn’t outpaced inflation means overall volumes were “going backwards.”

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