Retail sales in the UK were at their highest level since September 2015 this month, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

A total of 125 companies took part in the survey, 51 of which were retailers.

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The data found that sales increased by 35% from last month and are expected to be above seasonal norms at 32% next month.

The survey also shows that retail orders declined to 30% during the month from 48% last month.

This is expected to improve to 45% next month, although automotive dealers expect their sales to be below seasonal norms at -9%.

Wholesalers’ performance remained strong in the month, increasing to 43% from 27% last month. These retailers expect their sales to be 37% next month.

CBI lead economist Ben Jones said: “Christmas seems to have come early for retailers, with clothing and department stores in particular seeing a big upward swing in sales volumes in November.

“It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early.

“And there are encouraging signs that retailers’ efforts to help avoid any festive disappointments may be paying off, with stock levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.

“Overall, retailers are becoming more optimistic, with both employment growth and investment intentions picking up strongly.

“Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, with selling prices growing at the fastest pace since 1990.”

Last month, data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ showed that retail footfall in the UK had fallen by 16.8% in September from two years prior.

The data covered the five weeks from 29 August to 2 October, revealing a 1.2% increase from the previous month.

This was also above the three-month average decline in retail footfall of 20.5%.