Retail sales in the UK have seen a decline over the past 12 months, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

A total of 101 companies were included in the survey, 42 of which were retailers.

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The survey found that retail sales dropped by 23% this month compared to 2% last month.

For the coming month, the organisation expects sales to remain below seasonal norms at -17%.

In addition, internet sales declined by 2% in the past year, having risen by 3% last month from a year earlier. They are expected to remain flat until next month.

During the month, growth in orders placed with suppliers also ‘eased sharply’ to 17%, having risen to 55% last month. These are expected to increase going into next month.

Wholesalers’ sales remained positive for the tenth consecutive month at 30%, but were down from 43% last month.

CBI lead economist Ben Jones said: “It was not surprising that retail sales dropped back below seasonal norms in January, given the spread of Omicron, the reintroduction of restrictions late last year and increased consumer caution.

“Even as cases fall and Omicron-related restrictions are rowed back, retailers will be looking to the year ahead with a degree of concern.

“The sector faces an inflation double whammy, as rising energy and transport costs erode households’ spending power and retailers’ own costs continue to mount.

“It is vital that the UK Government comes forward with measures to protect the most vulnerable consumers, who will struggle the most with anticipated price rises.”

Last month, the CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey found that UK retail sales had fallen to 8% in December compared with 39% in November, as consumers cut back on in-person shopping due to concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The group forecast retail sales in the country to decline further to 5% for this month.