November retail sales rose at their fastest pace since June this year, data from the CBI Distributive Trades Survey shows.
Retailers reported improved year on year sales for the third consecutive month and an increase in staff on the shop floor.
Data showed that in the first two weeks of November almost halfof retailers reported an increase in their volume of sales against the same period last year, while just +16% reported a sales decline ahead of expectations.
Volumes growth is expected to slow down in December although sales are expected to move back into line with normal seasonal trading patterns.
The survey showed that the balance of retailers expect the business situation to improve over the next three months jumped 7%, the highest reading in two years.
There has been a strong rebound in year-on-year employment growth to a balance of +7% from -25% in August and this, and the balance from May at 12%, are the only positive employment balances since 2005.
CBI head of economic analysis Anna Leach said: “This months’ survey is reason to be cheerful as we head into the festive period. Retailers across the board will be heartened by these encouraging results. The increase in employment, along with expectations for improvement in the business situation over the next quarter, point to a welcome boost to the sector.
“But the fact that retailers are still reluctant to authorise new capital expenditure shows that there is some way to go before activity on the high street is back to normal.”
Year-on-year sales volume growth for November was positive in nine of the thirteen retail sectors. A third of grocers reported volume growth for the seventh month running, while 29% of those surveyed said volumes grew in clothing with 4% saying they were better thanexpected although 57%said they were weaker than the previous month.
Some 25% of retailers said the pace of retail price inflation slowed for the third quarter, hitting its slowest inflation since November 2009, while 24% of retailers said it was in line with expectations.