CBI: Decline in retail sales slows in October


According to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) distributive trades survey, the fall in retail sales slowed in October, but only a modest rise in volumes is expected next month.

Consumers continue to be cautious about the economic outlook and rein in their spending on the back of rising unemployment, higher inflation and slow wage growth.

The CBI’s survey established that 36% of retailers saw sales volumes fall during October compared to 25% who saw a rise.

As a result, the balance fell to 11% from 15%.

In the meantime, the expected sales balance for November rose to +4 – the highest since June.

The survey, meanwhile, also discovered that most sub-sectors suffered with falls in department stores, clothing and footwear.

Sales at department store sales fell at their fastest pace since May 2010, while clothing sales fell at their fastest pace since March 2009.

Commenting on the figures, CBI chief economic advisor Ian McCafferty, said: “High street sales remain difficult but the decline has stabilised, and retailers expect there to be some very modest growth next month in the build-up to Christmas.

“Family budgets continue to be stretched … and consumer confidence is severely dented. High street retailers are heavily discounting as they aim to provide the best possible value on basics. But consumers will continue on the back foot as real incomes remain squeezed,” he added.

In related news, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said stores axed jobs at their fastest pace in two years in the July to September period.

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