UK high street sales in the year to October showed the most positive growth in two years, according to the CBI’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey.
The report said sales in sectors related to the housing market are improving and stronger sales growth is expected in November.
41% of retailers said that sales volumes had risen in the period, compared to 33% that said volumes were down.
Looking to November, retailers gave their most optimistic outlook since July 2007, with a balance of 19% of those surveyed expecting sales volumes to improve next month.
Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and chief operating officer of Asda, said: “The latest official data shows the economy is still in recession, however the retail sector seems to be finding its feet again after a challenging year, and the outlook for November is encouraging. But overall the economy remains troubled and some retailers will find the recovery slow and painful.”
Sales volume growth was reported in sectors related to the housing market, particularly retailers selling white goods and furniture, and the CBI has forecast that some consumers will bring forward big ticket purchases to beat the VAT rise in January.
Retailers of fashion and footwear also experienced an uplift. However, chemists and hardware, china and DIY retailers suffered sales volume declines.