UK retail sales volumes in the year to October 2023 have fallen for the sixth month, according to the latest monthly Distributive Trades survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The survey found that retail sales volumes decreased at a faster pace of -36% in the year to October, compared to -14% in the year to September.

Retailers expect the decline to continue at a slower pace of -13% in November.

During the month, internet sales volumes fell at a rapid pace of -78%, against -3% in the previous month. Retailers expect the trend to continue but at a slower rate of -45% in November.

Sales volumes for wholesale volumes fell at a slower pace of -15% in October, compared to -23% in September.

The survey also revealed that orders placed upon suppliers fell at a faster rate of -37% during the month against -19% in September.

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By GlobalData

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “As the festive period approaches, the retail sector remains in a perilous position. Sales volumes have been falling year-on-year for six months in a row as cost-of-living concerns and higher interest rates weigh on consumer spending. Retailers expect the downturn in sales to continue next month, albeit at a slower pace.

“While slowing inflation should help to bolster households’ income in the coming months, retailers will continue to face headwinds from higher energy and borrowing costs. The Autumn Statement could help relieve some of the tax burden on the sector by freezing business rates from rising with inflation for another year.”

Earlier this month, data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ revealed that total retail footfall in the UK slowed down by 2.9% last month on a year-on-year basis.