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High street sales rise, says CBI

UK high street sales in the year to October showed the most positive growth in two years, according to the CBI’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

Fashion and footwear experienced an uplift during the year to October, when 41% of all retailers said that sales volumes had risen, compared to 33% that said volumes were down.

Looking to November, retailers gave their most optimistic outlook since July 2007, with a balance of 19% of those surveyed expecting sales volumes to improve next month.

Sales volumes in the wholesale sector were broadly flat for a second month running, which beat expectations of a heavy fall. Flat sales are expected in November.

Stock levels increased further in relation to expected demand, with a net 13% saying they were more than adequate to meet demand. A similar level is forecast for November.

A balance of 3% of firms said the volume of orders placed on suppliers fell, but the improved retail demand should feed through to suppliers in November, when a balance of 11% of firms predict stronger orders.

Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and chief operating officer of Asda, said: “The latest official data shows the economy is still in recession, however the retail sector seems to be finding its feet again after a challenging year, and the outlook for November is encouraging. But overall the economy remains troubled and some retailers will find the recovery slow and painful.”

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