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Retail sales – signs that the economy’s in trouble say Liberal Democrats

June 3, 2017 8:21 AM

Anita Lower and retail impactThe recent fall in retail sales are a sign the "post-Brexit honeymoon" for the UK economy is coming to an end - and prices are already rising, with latest inflation up by 2.7%, the Liberal Democrats are warning.

Quoting the Chairman of Marks and Spencer, Anita Lower, Liberal Democrat candidate for Newcastle North said ; "The worst is yet to come - and it's still two years before a potentially "hard Brexit" really kicks in" (see below)

"Analysts are forecasting that the Big 4 supermarkets will start raising prices very soon after several years lowering them in face of competition.

"The pound weakened very significantly. Retailers are reacting with rising prices, and manufacturers by cutting the size of food items. Smaller shops are particularly hard hit, and some are having to close their doors forever."

Figures out recently have shown UK retail sales saw their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in March, as rising prices since the Brexit vote hit consumer spending.

Former Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable also said: "These worrying figures suggest the post-Brexit honeymoon is over. Our economy has been sustained by consumer spending, based on substantial and unsustainable amounts of consumer debt. That now appears to be coming to an end. Consumers are being hit with a Brexit squeeze to living standards caused by rising prices and the falling pound"

"What the country needs is substantial investment to raise productivity, but this is being inhibited by all the uncertainty around a hard Brexit. This election is a chance to the change the direction of our country, prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the single market."

Note : Robert Swannell of M&S : "Most of us (retailers) were hedged (insured) to a greater or lesser extent so most of this is yet to come"