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Clothing sales down one fifth as retail sales continue to plummet

Sales in the retail sector fell at their fastest rate since January 2012 this month, showing that growth in retail activity has continued to weaken in 2013.

According to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey clothing was down 21% year-on-year sales, while footwear & leather goods had dropped 11%

Across all sectors overall there was an 11% drop in firms reporting a rise in sales volumes compared to this time last year, and there was a decline of 25% in those placing more orders with suppliers.

Results of the report also show that 23% retailers are planning to cut back on investment over the next year relative to the past twelve months, the lowest figure since February 2012.

However, the survey of 69 retailing firms found that 10% of firms are expecting business conditions to improve over the next three months, while 22% of wholesalers expect sales to rise solidly in June.

Barry Williams, Asda chief merchandising office for food and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, said: “Retail sales growth has weakened since the start of the year as households continue to feel the pinch, with wages failing to keep pace with the cost of living.

“There is positivity from retailers this month, however, with sales expected to rise in the coming months.”

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