Retail sales have proved lacklustre for the third month running in June, according to the CBI.

Today's CBI Distributive Trades Survey for the month showed 39 per cent of the 149 retail companies reported sales down in the first half of June compared with last year.

Retailers are also pessimistic about the coming month. Many fearing that increasingly cash-strapped shoppers will not be swayed by the July Sales.

CBI Distributive Trades Panel chairman Andy Clarke, who is also retail director of Asda, said: “High fuel prices and concerns about the economy have blunted consumer appetites and those retailers linked to the housing market are continuing to endure difficult conditions.”

The three-month moving average of sales volumes continued to fall, reaching its lowest figure since December 2005, at -16 per cent.

However, the grocery sector continued to be robust. 67 per cent of the grocers reported an increase in sales year on year.

Clarke said: “Grocers have had another strong month and we are seeing people spend more in supermarkets as they focus on the essentials and also upgrade to higher value food ranges instead of having a night out."