// CBI says retail sales wre “broadly unchanged” in November, after six months of falling demand
// Sales are predicted to improve, with the CBI expecting a return to growth in December
The downturn in the UK retail industry has slowed down dramatically which means shops could see sales growth return next month, new figures suggest.
The CBI’s monthly survey of British retailers has found that sales were “broadly unchanged” in November, after six months of falling demand.
However, the industry was still in decline, with 41 per cent of retailers reporting a decline in sales while 38 per cent of respondents saw a rise – giving a balance of -3 for the month against the same period last year.
- Almost 6000 shops closed down by major retail chains this year
- October retail sales grow at weak pace amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty
- Discounting drives give October retail sales a boost
Nonetheless, this was the highest performance in seven months as the run-up to Christmas appeared to improve the situation for high street retailers.
Sales are also predicted to continue to improve, with the CBI expecting a return to growth in December.
Retailers said they expect sales volumes to increase for the year to December, with 44 per cent expecting to see a rise in sales and just 23 per cent predicting a decline.
The figures were less positive for online retailers, with online sales growing at the slowest pace since June, while wholesale sales fell at the sharpest rate in more than seven years.
Suppliers also had less to cheer about as they saw the number of new orders fall for the seventh consecutive month in annual terms.
“Retailers are entering the festive season with a bit of hope that sales will head up, with the strongest expectations in half a year,” CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said.
“Actual sales have also stabilised and have nudged above average for the time of year and employment has stopped falling after three years of decline.
“But Brexit uncertainty continues to weigh on investment plans for the year ahead which remain weak.”