Sales volumes in the UK have declined this month after improving in October, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey showed that retail sales fell by 19% in November, having risen by 18% in October.

The trend is expected to continue next month with a 21% decline.

The UK’s sales volumes increased by 3% for the time of year, with the figure expected to be in line with seasonal norms with a decline of 1% next month.

For the year to November, online retail sales dropped by 5%, while wholesale sales volumes fell ‘considerably’ to 18% after a 3% growth in October.

Wholesale sales volumes are anticipated to decline to 21% in December.

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Employment growth in the UK’s retail sector decreased by 17% in the year to November, with this trend expected to continue at 12% next month.

The CBI reported that retailers expect to reduce their investment in the next 12 months compared with last year due to business prospects.

The survey included 156 companies, 65 of which were retailers.

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “It’s not surprising that retailers are feeling the chill as the UK continues to be buffeted by economic headwinds.

“Sales volumes fell at a firm pace in the year to November, and retailers remain notably downbeat about their future business prospects.

“This pessimism is reflected in investment intentions worsening to the greatest extent since May 2020.

“Retailers and wholesalers contribute £352bn ($422bn) to the UK economy and support a fifth of the nation’s jobs – yet these survey results underline what a tough time it is for the sector.

“The Chancellor’s decision to back CBI calls for a freeze in businesses rates next April will provide some welcome relief, but retailers are also looking for longer-term measures from Government that can restore momentum to the UK economy.”