British consumers appear to be curbing their spending as the impact of the U.K.’s June 2016 Brexit vote continues to take hold throughout the country.
Retail sales in the nation fell at the most aggressive rate since July 2016, Bloomberg reports. In addition, 44 percent of retailers indicated their sales volumes fell in August compared to the same period last year, while 34 percent indicated sales volumes had risen, according to data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
U.K. retailers aren’t completely pessimistic about the future, however, as many of them continue to show optimism for sales volumes to rise again.
“Looking ahead, firms do expect sales growth to recover, but the pressures on household budgets are set to persist, given little sign of wages picking up,” said Anna Leach, head of the CBI’s economic intelligence department, in remarks published by the Independent.
Although the outlook for U.K. retail sales was rather bleak, other sectors of the economy showed more encouraging numbers. Grocery sales were stable in August compared with the same period last year, and both leather and footwear also demonstrated positive performances, the CBI data indicated. On the down side, specialty food and beverage shops both logged “significant” sales dips during the one-year period, and online sales growth also slowed, the Independent noted.
During the period between April and June, the U.K. economy grew by 0.3 percent, according to data supplied by the Office for National Statistics.
Retail employment fell during the past year at the quickest pace in eight years, and similar employment declines are projected for next month as well, according to Retail Gazette. Analysts are predicting the U.K. economy may continue to slide backward as inflation rises, and the British Pound is expected to be on par with the U.K. Euro by year’s end.