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By David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - British retailers suffered their sharpest fall in sales in four years after last month's vote to leave the European Union, raising doubts about the ability of consumers to stave off a Brexit recession. The Confederation of British Industry said sales fell sharply between June 28 and July 14 and retailers cut orders with suppliers by the most since the 2008-09 financial crisis. "If you are looking for a relatively resilient consumer as we are then it's not particularly encouraging." The Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates next week for the first time since 2009 and Chancellor Philip Hammond reiterated on Wednesday that the government was ready to support the economy as it went through a "period of adjustment".
By Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - Britain's future ties with the European Union may not mirror any of the existing relationships between non-EU countries and the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday after meeting her Italian counterpart. The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that international trade minister Liam Fox was pressing May to pull out of the EU's customs union, an area in which there is free movement of goods but where tariffs are imposed on external borders. Fox has said a free trade agreement with the EU was more likely than staying in the customs union, which could restrict Britain's ability to negotiate lower tariffs with other trading partners, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.