Retail sales dropped in November as cautious shoppers resulted in “below average” sales volumes for the time of the year.
According to the CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey, it is the sixth consecutive month sales volumes have declined, with 44% of retailers reporting a fall in sales volumes in November, while 26% of retailers saw a rise, giving a resulting balance of -19%.
Sales volumes were “below average” for the time of year, as volumes dropped across food & drink stores, department stores and clothing.
The downward movement of sales volumes is not expected to change for December, but retailers believe the pace at which it declines will ease.
CBI chief economic adviser Ian McCafferty said: “Retailers remain hard-pressed, even as we get closer to Christmas.
“The relatively mild weather this autumn has hit clothing stores particularly hard, and retail sales are down year-on-year for the sixth month in a row.
“Retailers may be hoping that shoppers will loosen their purse strings in the run up to Christmas, but consumers are likely to remain cautious about spending given the uncertain economic outlook.”
Retailers have also been reducing headcount. While 13% increased staffing levels in November, 40% reduced numbers, giving a balance of -27% - the sharpest decline in two years.
Price inflation stayed “well above average” as retailers reported a rise in average selling prices for November, which is not expected to change in December.