UK retail sales fall again in July, longest decline since 2011

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers browse aisles in a supermarket in London, Britain April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales contracted for a third month running in July, marking the longest stretch of decline since 2011 and suggesting an economic slowdown could continue into the third quarter, an industry survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly gauge of retail sales rose to -16 from -42 in June, a smaller increase than expected in a Reuters poll of economists which had pointed to a reading of -10.

“Whilst last year’s summer strength in retail sales is driving some of the comparative weakness this year, it is still hugely concerning that sales have fallen for the longest period in almost eight years,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

“The UK economy has reached a fork in the road. The new Prime Minister must now do everything in his power to achieve a good Brexit deal, thus protecting jobs and our economy,” she added.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken