UK retailers expect sales to fall sharply next month, according to the Distributive Trades Survey results from the Confederation of British Industry, published Tuesday.
A net balance of 45 percent said sales declined in the year to February compared to -50 percent in January. However, a net 62 percent forecast sales to decline further in March.
The retail order balance came in at -36 versus -45 percent in January. A net 59 percent expects another deterioration in the year to March.
Among retailers, only grocers registered any growth in volumes in February, with non-store sales flat and other retail sectors reporting sharp declines.
Nonetheless, the survey showed a record internet sales growth in February with another historically strong performance expected in the year to March. "Record growth in internet shopping suggests that retailers' investments in on-line platforms and click-and-collect services maybe paying off, but the re-opening of the sector can't come soon enough to protect jobs and breathe life back into the sector," Ben Jones, CBI principal economist, said.
Retail employment decreased for the 17th consecutive quarter. A net 44 percent said employment declined in the year to February. A similar percent expects another fall in the year to March.