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Monday 01st of December 2008
September 24, 2008

High Street sales take another battering


by Kay Murchie
”High

The CBI’s latest survey of retailers has revealed another poor month after retail sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in September.

However, the figures revealed that supermarkets bucked the trend, continuing to experience steady growth.

The CBI discovered that approximately one-fifth of retailers experienced rising sales this month while 48% said they were down compared with last year.

The balance of -27% was the third-weakest since the survey commenced 25 years ago, but an improvement on the record low of minus 46% last month.

A balance of almost one-third of retailers said they expected further falls in sales next month.

However, the figures from the CBI differ from official retail sales data. Retail sales showed an unexpected rise of 1.2% last month, primarily due to back-to-school shopping and summer promotions.

The CBI’s figures continue to highlight that consumers are avoiding the High Street as they are worried about the economy, falling house prices, rising food and fuel bills, the threat of a recession and losing their jobs.

John Cridland, the CBI’s deputy director general said, the retail outlook for early autumn remains bleak as consumers are feeling the brunt of the economic slowdown as the UK endures what is likely to be a short and mild recession.

The CBI is now urging the Bank of England to cut interest rates by half a percentage point in November.

Major retailers including Argos, John Lewis, Laura Ashley and Next have been among stores reporting falling sales and are braced for a shocking Christmas.

According to Paul Dales of Capital Economics, conditions on the High Street remain very weak and we expect them to get worse before they get better.

Meanwhile, business confidence plummeted in Germany, France and Italy due to the global financial crisis.

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