The research showed that 19 per cent of retailers reported sales growth for the year to November, compared with 11 per cent that posted growth in the year to October.
The CBI's research suggests that retailers are keeping volumes up by cutting prices. Grocers, booksellers, DIY chains and stationers saw sales rise in November, while retailers selling durable household goods recorded falls in sales.
CBI chief economic adviser Ian McCafferty said: 'With stores open longer it's not unusual to experience a slow build-up to Christmas. However, this year retailers appear to be bracing themselves for a disappointing Christmas, because consumers show a reluctance to spend in the face of rising interest rates and concerns about the economy. A bumper Christmas would be a big surprise.'