Sales and holidays bolster September retail sales

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CBI retail figures continue to rise for third consecutive month.

Retailers have enjoyed a healthy September, according to the CBI’s distributive trades survey, which showed that a majority of retailers had reported sales up on last year.

A net 49 percent of retailers taking part in the survey said that sales volumes were up on last year. This is the most positive response the CBI has recorded since May 2004 and is the third consecutive year-on-year increase.

CBI chief economic advisor Ian McCafferty said: “High street sales have performed well again this month, with growth better than retailers predicted.”

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McCafferty attributed the boost to increased shopping over the bank holiday weekend, the launch of autumn collections and final end-of-summer discounting.

As well as increasing sales, the CBI report showed better-than-expected wholesale orders. Order to suppliers were up 39 percent on last year compared to a forecast 29 percent.

The CBI said retailers remained positive about the outlook for October. “Retailers expect sales growth to continue next month and, as we get closer to January, sales will be helped by households seeking to beat the VAT rise,” said McCafferty. “However, weak prospects for take-home pay mean that consumer spending is likely to be fairly restrained in 2011.”

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