Retail sales in the UK have declined significantly from typical levels this month, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

A total of 108 companies were included in the survey, 51 of which were retailers.

During the month, retail sale volumes dropped by 35% compared with 9% last month, representing the first fall in 13 months.

This trend is expected to continue at a ‘modest’ rate of 8% next month.

The survey also found that retail orders fell slightly by 7% after a growth of 3% last month. They are expected to continue to drop by 9% next month.

Wholesaler’s sales grew by 39% after increasing by 29% last month, with this growth expected to be at 32% next month.

Online sales volumes dropped by 46% the previous month and continued to fall by 36% this month. They are expected to decline by 6% next month.

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “Retail sales were below seasonal norms in April as consumer spending continued to shift back towards services and rising prices impacted households’ spending power.

“Rapid inflation means that the cost-of-living crisis is going nowhere soon.

“To combat these challenges, the government will need to keep a close eye on support for vulnerable households and businesses struggling with higher energy prices.

“Meanwhile, going for growth must continue to be the government’s primary domestic focus, as increasing productivity growth is the only sustainable route to raise living standards.”

Earlier this month, data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that retail footfall in the UK decreased by 15.4% last month compared with three years earlier.

The figure represented a slight improvement of 1.2% from February and was above the three-month average decline of 15.9%.