UK retail sales growth slows sharply in October

Retail sales volumes slowed in the year to October following a strong performance in September, according to CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

In the survey of 112 firms, 38% of retailers said volumes were up on a year ago, below expectations of 51%, while 20% said they fell, giving a balance of 19%.

Retailers expect sales volumes to grow at a somewhat stronger pace next month, according to CBI, with 40% expecting them to rise and 16% to fall.

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Internet sales volumes accelerated in the year to October, with growth set to pick up further next month.

CBI director of Economics Rain Newton-Smith said growth in sales and orders for high street retailers remains resilient.

“Internet sales are starting to ramp up again as we head towards Christmas and we would expect them to continue this positive pattern until the end of the year,” he added.

“Low inflation and improving wages mean the prospects for sales growth are decent, but challenges remain, like the weakening global economy and competitive pressures in the retail sector, so we can’t take this positive outlook for granted.”

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