May 23, 2017 / 10:17 AM / in 2 months

UK retail sales growth fades away in May, outlook darkens -CBI

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LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - British retail sales growth faded away this month after an April surge, as worries about the outlook among major chains increased at the fastest rate since 2012, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Confederation of British Industry survey added to signs that consumer spending -- a main driver of the British economy -- is wilting in the face of rising inflation since last year's Brexit vote.

Its monthly retail sales balance slid back to +2 in May from +38 in April, a four-month low and worse than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists that had pointed to a reading of +10.

"It's clear that households are increasingly feeling the pinch, as rising inflation pushes down on real earnings," CBI economist Alpesh Paleja said.

"Taken together with higher import cost pressures from a weaker pound, this is creating a challenging environment for retailers."

The CBI said tepid trading conditions had taken a toll on retailers' hiring and investment plans. Average selling prices increased at the fastest pace in six years during the year to May. (Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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