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U.K. Retail Sales Pick Up in August

British retail sales picked up pace in August as weather conditions improved but growth
remained weaker than earlier in the year, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday.

The lobby group's monthly survey showed annual sales growth accelerated to 1.8% last month, up from 1.2% in July, when measured on a like-for-like basis.

Total sales, which include new floorspace, grew by 3.7% on the year compared with an expansion of 3.1% in July when very wet weather had hit retailers hard.

The pick-up, however, will do little to alter expectations the Bank of England will hold interest rates at 5.75% later this week, particularly as the results are still weaker than they were earlier in the year.

Like-for-like sales growth was running above 3% in the first three months of the year.

"Another disappointing month for many retailers as the slow rate of growth in the industry continues. If the trend continues into September, we will see the lowest quarterly growth rates since the first quarter of 2006," said Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG which sponsors the survey.

Still, the food and drinks sector put in a robust performance.