British retailers reported their strongest month for sales in August in nine months, confounding forecasts for a fall as the cost-of-living squeeze hits households, figures from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Thursday.
The CBI's July retail sales balance for August jumped to +37 from -4 in July.
Economists polled by Reuters had mostly expected a fall to -7.
"While retail sales returned to solid growth in the year to August, firms remain pessimistic about their business situation over the next three months – to the greatest extent since the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020," Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said.
"This gloom is reflected in retailers' investment intentions, which continue to be resolutely negative."
The CBI survey also showed average selling price inflation sped up to its fastest pace since 1985 at +87 from +77 in May.
Prices were expected to rise at a similarly fast pace in September.
Consumer price inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1% in July.
The survey was based on responses from 60 retailers between 27 July 27 and 12 August.