British businesses are growing steadily -- but retailers face 'facing choppier conditions'

British businesses grew steadily over the last three months, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s latest survey.

Output was +14% in the three months to August, according to the CBI’s survey of 716 companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and services sectors. The result is similar to the three months to July, when the CBI’s growth survey recorded a reading of +16%.

The CBI, one of Britain’s biggest business lobbies, cited strong activity for manufacturers for the solid performance. Britain’s manufacturers saw growth surge in August as new orders from both the USA and Europe flooded into the country and supported the sector, according to figures released by IHS Markit on Friday.

However, Rain Newton-Smith, CBI’s Chief Economist, cautions: “While it’s encouraging that growth in the economy as a whole remains steady, it’s also clear that firms in consumer-facing sectors are facing choppier conditions, as rising inflation squeezes household incomes.

“With continued uncertainty weighing on investment decisions across the economy, businesses will be looking for positive signals from the UK-EU negotiations, chief among them agreeing transitional arrangements as quickly as possible.

“Domestically we need to see urgent progress on productivity by powering ahead with a modern industrial strategy focused on ensuring growth reaches all parts of the UK.”

The CBI expects private sector output to remain relatively steady at +16% over the next few months.

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