imageEconomic Indicators1 hour ago (Mar 25, 2020 07:20AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians pass a sale sign on a retail shop on Oxford Street in London

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) – British retail sales fell this month as the coronavirus hit demand for products other than food, and the outlook for April is the bleakest since 2009, the Confederation of British Industry said on Wednesday.

The CBI distributive trades survey’s retail sales balance dropped to -3 in March from +1 in February, and the expected reading for next month is -26, the lowest since April 2009.

“These are extraordinary times for the retail sector,” CBI economist Ben Jones said.

“Grocers are seeing a temporary increase in demand because of coronavirus. But many other retailers are seriously suffering as households put off non-essential purchases and social distancing keeps people away from the high street,” he said.

UK retailers fear biggest fall in sales since 2009: CBI

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