Independent retailers saw sales fall back 2.2% in the second quarter but the British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA) said that there were some signs that business was stabilising.
The BSSA said that sales had finished down 2.1% over the first half and that business confidence had improved slightly. Of those surveyed 55% said they were confident about business over the next 12 months, up from 52% at the end of the previous quarter.
Independents that stock accessories were among those businesses to see an upturn in sales over the quarter.
BSSA chief executive John Dean said: “There is little doubt that consumers are being very cautious in their discretionary spending and this will continue to be the case whilst the future of the economy remains uncertain and unemployment continues to rise.”
However the BSSA warned that its independent retailer members still faced uncertain times because of the impending rise in VAT to 17.5% in January on top of low consumer confidence.
The BSSA has more than 3,500 members, which have a combined turnover of £2.6 billion and a combined 5,000 stores employing some 37,000 staff. All are all non-food independent retailers.
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