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Retailers surprisingly upbeat in month of August

The CBI monthly survey of UK retailers has reported increased confidence in the UK economy and a net balance of +35 in favour of sales growth in August against +33 in July and analyst expectations of just +20. This is the highest figure for the monthly survey since April 2007 although on a slightly negative note hopes for September fell from +45 to just +39.

At a time when the UK economy is certainly struggling and potentially on the edge of a double dip recession, this survey would indicate that retail sales for August may be significantly stronger than many had expected. While analysts and investors will await the official retail sales figures for August it does give some hope against a background of doom and gloom which has been gripping the financial press for some time.

It is unclear at this point in time where the increased confidence in the UK economy has come from although summer sales, warmer weather and the school holidays may well have had a one-off impact upon figures. However, no investor and no economist is going to go out on a limb on one figure and one survey alone and we really need to see the creation of a new trend to ultimately wave goodbye to the UK economic downturn.

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