Retail sales declined at fastest pace in a year

According to survey

Retail sales fell at the fastest pace since July 2016 as sales for the time of year are below seasonal norms a survey has shown.

The latest quarterly CBI Distributive Trades Survey of 117 firms, of which 57 were retailers, showed that retail sales tumbled to minus 10 per cent from plus 22 per cent in July.

Orders placed with suppliers are also falling considerably year-on-year with 41 per cent placing fewer orders, giving a balance of minus 24 per cent.

The findings are the lowest since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote in June last year and are below economic forecasts.

However retailers are expecting sales volumes to bounce back next month and orders are expected to stabilise.

Anna Leach, Head of Economic Intelligence at CBI, said: “Despite the warmer weather at the start of the month, retail sales have cooled as higher inflation continues to squeeze consumers’ pockets.”

The survey also showed that employment in the retail sector declined at the fastest pace since August 2009 and a similar reduction in headcount expected next month.

“Deteriorating sentiment regarding the business situation has combined with falling headcount among retailers,” Leach added.

“Looking ahead, firms do expect sales growth to recover, but the pressures on household budgets are set to persist, given little sign of wages picking up.”

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