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Flat retail sales set to decline further

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UK high street sales have been flat this month, causing retailers to predict a further deterioration in the next three month, according to findings revealed today.

According to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, conducted over the first two weeks of August, 31 per cent of retailers said they had seen a drop in sales volumes while 27 per cent reported an increase.

This rounded balance of -3 per cent “was broadly in line with expectations of +3 per cent”, the CBI said in its report.

Retail employment also nosedived on a year ago, with 25 per cent fewer people employed across the sector and retailers anticipate a further decline of 12 per cent in the coming month.

Supplier orders also fell over the period compared with the previous year, down 11 per cent which is its fastest decline since January, a surprising figure given the expected increase in demand over the course of the London Olympic Games.

Judith McKenna, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda COO, said: “Although this summer’s events created a mood of celebration across the nation, these figures would suggest this positivity did not extend to the high street.

“However, although retailers expect the overall business situation to worsen in the coming three months, they still expect sales to rise year-on-year in September.”

Sales are expected to rise slightly next month compared to the same period last year at +6 per cent.

In June, the CBI was criticised by an economics experts who warned that its figures may be skewed when compared to other findings.

Published on Thursday 23 August by Editorial Assistant

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