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High street sales grow in June, CBI reports

Sales across the high street continued to grow in June, although sales remained below the expected level for the time of year, according to the CBI.

In the first two weeks in June, 58% of retailers reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, and 17% stated that sales had fallen. The resulting positive 42% balance was stronger than retailers had expected and was the fastest growth reported since the positive 56% balance in December.

However, retailers still considered the volume of sales to be below average for the time of year, with a negative 10% balance posted within the CBI Distributive Trades survey.

Most retail sub-sectors reported an improvement in year-on-year sales growth. Grocers recorded their highest balance, positive 85%, since February 2010 and with a positive 69% balance, clothing retailers experienced annual sales growth for the third consecutive month.

CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna said: “Retailers have continued to report strong growth in both their sales and orders. The Jubilee provided a much-needed boost to our high streets with many families and communities making the most of the Bank Holiday and coming together to celebrate.

“However, it is notable that sales were still considered to be below par for the time of year. Weak consumer confidence and uncertainty over the economic outlook are still putting a brake on consumer spending across the whole retail sector.”

Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe said the Jubilee was likely to be the third biggest retail event of the year after Christmas and Easter. He said: “The figures will provide a much needed shot of confidence to the sector, which will also benefit from this week’s decision to freeze fuel duty.”

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