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A nation drowns its sorrows
Money & financeUnited Kingdom
Retail sales in Britain grew in April, driven by supermarket sales of alcohol, even as consumer confidence was sliding towards a new low.
ONS data shows retail sales were up 1.4% in April (economists had expected a dip of 0.2%).
Supermarket sales of alcohol, tobacco and sweet treats were the main driver according to ONS (which could also indicate people not spending in pubs and restaurants).
GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index hit its lowest-ever point in May: -40 is even worse than the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Inflation reached 9% in April; the Bank of England’s chief economist anticipates interest rates will rise further in order to bring it down from a 40-year high.
It’s not getting any better
The impact of rising National Insurance contributions and energy bills won’t have fully worked their way through in April’s retail sales figures. “The outlook for consumer confidence is gloomy, and nothing on the economic horizon shows a reason for optimism any time soon,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director, GfK.