Sales volumes have risen “slightly” and retailers forecast growth will strengthen next month, according to the CBI.

In its monthly Distributive Trades Survey, the CBI revealed that 27% of retailers said sales volumes had fallen against last year in the first two weeks in September. But 33% of retailers said sales volumes were up.

But for the fifth month running, high street retailers believe the volume of sales at -22% is “significantly” below average for the time of year and worse than expected at -15%.

Retailers expect faster sales growth at +15% for October.

CBI Distributive Trades Panel chair and Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna said: “It is encouraging that sales on the high street have seen a slight rise in the year to September, and that retailers expect growth to pick up further next month.

“However, while the squeeze on family budgets may have eased in the short term thanks to the fall in inflation, on-going economic fragility, reflecting uncertainty around the international outlook, could affect household spending later in the year.” 

September stock levels fell back in line with demand up 4%. They are now at their lowest since September 2009, up 3%.

The grocers reported an increase in year-on-year sales for the fifth consecutive month at 55%, while chemists posted their first sales rise since July 2010, 19%.