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Autumn fashion drives high street sales rise

Sales on the high street have risen above retailer expectations this month driven by fashion and footwear sales, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

According to the CBI’s quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, 60% of retailers surveyed said the volume of sales rose in September, while 11% reported a fall, creating a balance of +49%. This was the highest balance since May 2004, and the third consecutive year-on-year increase.The predicted figure for September was +39%.

Clothing, footwear and leather sales were particularly strong, boosted by new autumn ranges. The furniture and carpets sector also saw solid growth.

Overall, the survey predicted a balance of +47% retailers expect a higher volume of sales next month compared to October last year.

The volume of retailer orders from suppliers also increased, showing a +39% figures, beating a prediction of +29%.

Wholesaler sales volumes rose but the increase was lower than in August. 47% of wholesalers said that volumes were higher than a year ago, with 33% reporting a fall, giving a balance of +14%.

CBI chief economic advisor Ian McCafferty said: “High street sales have performed well again this month, with growth better than retaliers predicted. The bank holdiay weekend, combined with the tail-end of summer sales have resulted in a bumper period for retailers. Clothing and footwear sales in particular look to have been boosted by the launch of new autumn ranges.”

“Retailers expect sales growth to continue next month and, as we get closer to January, sales will be helped by households seeking to beat the VAT rise. However, weak prospects for take-home pay mean that consumer spending is likely to be fairly restrained in 2011.”


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