Retail sales volumes grew at the fastest pace for two years in the year to September, according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey.
The survey of 117 respondents, including 55 retail firms, found that sales for the time of year were considered to be slightly above seasonal norms.
Growth in internet sales volumes rose in the year to September to slightly above the long-run average and are expected to expand at a somewhat slower pace in October.
Clothing, alongside the grocery sector, was cited as a main driver of growth in overall volumes.
“It’s encouraging to see some vigour returning to the retail sector in September, with sales growth picking up from August and consumer demand expected to hold up reasonably well next month,” says Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence.
She continues, “However, inflation continues to squeeze household budgets and with the pressure on incomes set to persist, retailers will continue to face a challenging environment.
“The Government has the opportunity to provide a fillip for retailers in the forthcoming Budget – particularly those maintaining a physical presence on the High Street – by bringing forward the switch in the indexation of business rates from RPI to CPI.”