Flat August sales were broadly in line with retailers’ expectations but the next three months are expected to worsen as sentiment deteriorates, the CBI said.

In its Distributive Trades Survey, 27% of retailers said their volume of sales had increased against last year. But 31% said they had seen a fall.

The balance of -3% was “broadly” in line with expectations of +3%.

Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna said: Although this summer’s events created a mood of celebration across the nation, these figures would suggest this positivity did not extend to the high street.”

Although sales are expected to increase to +6% next month - up on the seasonal norm of -15% - the next three months are set to worsen as sentiment is expected to weaken more severley than at any time since February 2009 (-26%), the report found.

Twelve of the 13 retailing categories saw a slowdown in the pace of year-on-year sales growth this month. Only growth in footwear and leather increased, up slightly  to +58% from +42% in July.

Shop price inflation eased “considerably” to +31%, steadying at its lowest rate since November 2009 when it was +17%. Retailers plan to raise prices at a similar year-on-year rate next month at +32%, the report found.

Investment intentions for the year ahead stayed negative but better than last year.