UK retail sales have declined for the sixth month in a row in the year to October, according to the latest survey by the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI).
The report found that retail sales volumes in the year to October declined by 10%, with retailers expecting next month’s sales volumes to be flat.
Orders placed on suppliers dropped by 4% compared to 9% last month. Retailers expect ‘sharper fall in orders’ next month.
Sales for the time of year decreased by 12% compared to 11% last month. It is expected to remain poor for the same time of year next month.
On the positive side, year-on-year internet sales saw growth improvement of 49% compared to 33% in September. Retailers expect similar growth next month.
The report noted that retailers recorded a peak in stock levels, which according to CBI is the highest since the survey began in 1983.
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CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said: “Retailers have now endured six months of falling sales, the longest period of decline since the financial crisis. The sector is struggling with ongoing digital disruption, layered on top of cost pressures from a weak pound and the cumulative burden of an outdated business rates regime.
“Retailers have also had to contend with the looming Brexit deadline, which has partly driven a record spike in stocks. The timing could not be worse: the run-up to Christmas is a crucial time of year for the retail sector, and not knowing where we will be on November 1st is adding more strain to an already beleaguered sector.”