UK retail sales volumes have fallen for the seventh consecutive month in the year to November 2023, according to the latest monthly distributive trades survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The decline was at a much lower pace of 11% compared with 36% in the year to October.

Retailers expect the decline in sales volume to reduce further to 6% in December.

In the year to November 2023, internet sales volumes continued to fall at a rapid pace of 39% year-on-year (YoY) compared with a decline of 78% in October.

Online sales are expected to decrease by 42% in the following month’s figures.

Wholesale volumes dropped by 11% in the year to November, which compares to 15% in October.

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By GlobalData

In the 12 months to November 2024, retailers expect to reduce investment relative to the previous 12 months.

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius stated: “Retail sales have languished in negative territory for much of 2023, reflecting the impact of strained household finances on the sector’s fortunes. Though sentiment has picked up slightly, firms do not feel that a revival in activity is imminent. Given the weakness in trading conditions, it’s little surprise that firms are scaling back on their investment ambitions.

“Retailers had hoped the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement would offer a reprieve from next year’s hike in business rates. While prioritising relief for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] and key sectors is understandable, many retailers are being left to contend with another increase in costs at a time when they are least able to afford them.”

The survey was conducted with 131 respondents, including 53 retailers.

In November 2023, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK retail sales volumes for October had fallen at a slower pace of 0.3%.