Retail sales fell in June, although to a lesser extent than had been expected, the CBI Distributive Trades Survey showed.
While 34% of retailers reported a rise in sales volumes in the first two weeks of the month, 39% experienced a fall. That resulted in a balance of -5% compared to an anticipated -15% and was an improvement on the -18% figure recorded in May.
Footwear and leather goods retailers were most hit by a sales decline, experiencing a “sharp fall” after 11 months of growth, followed by hardware, china and DIY.
On a three-month basis, the moving average of sales volumes was -3% after having been positive for the previous seven months.
A net 11% of retailers said sales were “poor for the time of year” but the same proportion expected sales to rise in July, helped by the World Cup.
CBI chief economic advisor Ian McCafferty said: As the survey pre-dates the emergency Budget, news that the feared rise in VAT will not take effect until next January may well also encourage some advance spending over the second half of the year.”