The latest CBI survey has again reported the fastest year-on-year sales decline in its 22 year history. This is the second time this year that the survey has hit a record low. Half the retailers questioned for the CBI’s Monthly Distributive Trades Survey said September sales volumes were down on a year ago while only 26 per cent said they were up and the expectations for October are equally gloomy.

Retailers have continued to cut their orders to suppliers causing a knock-on effect in other sectors of the UK economy such as manufacturing. With the exception of grocers and specialist food, all sectors have weakened compared with a year ago. The worst affected are sales of furniture and carpets, other household durable goods, DIY and hardware items – all sectors reflecting the weakened housing market.

John Longworth, Executive Director of Asda and Chairman of the CBI’s DTS Panel, said: “There was no let up for retailers during September. Despite extended Summer sales, this is the fourth month in a row when volumes have fallen well short of last year’s levels.

“The reluctance of consumers to spend money is probably due to a variety of factors including higher fuel bills, a reluctance to incur debt and the slowdown in the housing market. With only three months to go until Christmas retailers will be pulling out all the stops to get shoppers back into the high street and spending money.”

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