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UK Retail Sales Drop

British retail sales fell by the most in six months last month after a large drop in food purchases, which followed an unusually warm summer that had encouraged Britons to splash out on barbecues.

Retail sales volumes in September dropped by 0.8 percent from August – a bigger fall than economists had expected in a poll – after the largest decline in food purchases since October 2015, the Office for National Statistics said.

Annual sales volume growth slowed to 3.0 percent from 3.4 percent, in contrast to the pick-up expected by economists, though looking at the quarter as a whole, annual growth was the strongest for a calendar quarter since the end of 2016.

European Union leaders are ready to meet to finalise the terms of Britain’s withdrawal as soon as negotiations get close enough, but with insufficient progress so far there are no plans for a summit in November, EU officials said.

Leaders of the 27 EU countries that will remain in the bloc after Britain leaves in March 2019 discussed progress in the Brexit negotiations over dinner last night after a speech delivered by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The 27 leaders note that, despite intensive negotiations, not enough progress has been achieved.

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