UK retail sales volumes in the year to July have dropped at the ‘fastest pace’ since April last year, according to the latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

A total of 135 companies were included in the survey, 59 of which were retailers.

The survey revealed that sales volume in the year to July fell to -25% from -9% in the previous month.

The trend is expected to continue at a faster rate of -32% next month.

The data also revealed that internet sales volumes declined to -46% in July after growing 26% last month. It is expected to fall further to -48% in August.

In the distribution sector, wholesale volumes in the year to July fell to -9% from -15% the prior month.

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By GlobalData

The fall is expected to contract at -6% next month.

During the month, orders placed upon suppliers were -39%, compared to -10% in June.

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “Retail sales volumes fell for a third consecutive survey in July and at the fastest pace since April 2022. Firms remain cautious about the retail sector’s near-term outlook as they pare back on orders and brace themselves for another sales contraction in the year to August.

“Cost pressures, a tight labour market and rising interest rates, alongside uncertain demand conditions, make the current environment difficult to navigate for retailers. Now more than ever, business rates reform would go a long way to alleviate cost pressures in the retail sector, which burden them disproportionately compared to other businesses.”