High street sales have fallen for the second consecutive month, according to the CBI’ Distributive Trades survey.

Overall, 28 per cent of retailers reported sales volume growth on last year and 42 per cent said volumes had fallen. The balance of –14 per cent was in line with expectations and is less severe than the –26 per cent balance in April. A balance of 6 per cent is expected for June.

Grocers had the strongest month with a balance of 51 per cent reporting sales volume growth on May last year. Footwear retailers also put on a strong showing, also reporting a balance of 51 per cent.

Retailers selling big-ticket household items and homewares, as well as DIY retailers reported sales volumes falling. However, furniture and carpet retailers were hardest hit with a balance of 81 per cent reporting a fall in sales volumes.

CBI chief economic adviser Ian McCafferty said: “The high street has faced another testing month. It is encouraging that retailers can see some recovery in sales next month, but they are not optimistic about the business outlook and retail conditions are likely to remain tough.