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Retail and wholesale sales grow 'solidly'

Retail sales volumes grew solidly in the year to September, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the previous month, a survey by the CBI has found.

The CBI’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 123 respondents revealed 48% of retailers felt sales volumes had increased, while 17% said they had fallen, giving a balance of +31%.

Sales growth was felt across most sub-sectors, but department stores led the way, and footwear and leather retailers also performed strongly.

Retail sales volumes are expected to rise strongly again in the year to October, but the pace of growth is set to ease further. Some 42% of retailers said they expect sales volumes to increase in the year to October, while 16% said they will fall, giving a balance of +26%.

The CBI added wholesaling also continued to grow robustly in the year to September, with sales growth in clothing, textiles and footwear the highest on record. Overall, volumes are expected to rise strongly again next month.

The survey found 60% of wholesalers said sales volumes increased, while 8% said they fell, giving a rounded balance of +53%.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: “Solid growth continues on the high street, with most sectors doing decent business and department stores performing particularly well. However, the pace of growth in the grocery sector tailed off significantly compared with the previous survey. Retailers are expecting sales to grow again next month, but at a steadier pace.”

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