High street sales growth falls after strong summer


Retail sales growth was more subdued last month as the strong sales seen over the summer period begin to let up.

According to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) figures, retail sales in the year to September dropped from +29 to +23 compared to a month prior.

Though 31 per cent of retailers reported that sales volumes were up on a year earlier, they also expected sales to continue to slow next month.

Department store sales were down five per cent during the period, a figure reflected in the continuing struggles the likes of House of Fraser and Debenhams.

Footwear and leather and recreational goods also saw dramatic sales drops, falling 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

“As we head into Autumn, retailers have seen the run of decent sales figures continue,” CBI head of economic intelligence Anna Leach said.

“But underlying conditions are clearly tougher, with the sector facing significant challenges – from squeezed household incomes, changing consumer habits to digital disruption.

“So, policymakers must be conscious that times are harder for retailers than recent data suggests.

“With the burden of business rates stifling investment – against the backdrop of an already tough trading environment – the Government must deliver a review of the system over the coming year.”

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