UK CBI realized sales rose slightly to -50 in May, up from -55. That data suggested retail sales volumes continued to fall sharply, even at a slightly slower pace”. Also, the slightly easing of decline was largely driven by a return to growth in the grocery sector (up from -27 to 16).

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: “The retail sector is at the sharp end of a crisis, with many businesses up against it. The government’s support packages are making a real difference, with more shops reporting that jobs have been furloughed, rather than lost. The furlough system will need to adapt as more businesses open their doors in the months ahead.

“As we gradually reopen the economy, retailers may yet need more support from the government if demand falters. Ensuring safety in the workplace remains the top priority, as more firms look to bring staff back to work. Many challenges remain in managing supply chains and costs in a tough environment.”

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