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Retail sales fall slightly in April

The CBI recorded a slight dip in sales for April but retailers were optimistic for May

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Retail sales fell slightly in April but were in line with expectations for the time year as the UK economy slipped once again into recession, according to the latest survey.

A total of 33 percent of retailers saw a rise in sales compared to a year ago, while 39 percent reported a fall, with the resulting negative balance of -6 percent, according to the CBI’s latest monthly distributive trades survey.

However retailers were positive forecasting a rise in sales volumes next month, with the expectations balance at its highest +19 percent since February 2011 when it reached +25 percent, the CBI said.

Orders also fell slightly compared to a year ago, but retailers expect orders will grow in May to reach a level of +6 percent, according to the business lobby group’s survey.

Grocers suffered the most reporting a decline in year-on-year sales of -19 percent for the first time since November 2011.

Meanwhile, furniture and carpets reported a year-on-year rise in sales for the third consecutive month. Clothing, footwear and leather also saw solid growth, the survey found.

“If as expected, inflation falls further later this year, we may see some growth in retail sales, but as long as high unemployment and sluggish wage growth dampen confidence, spending will remain tight,” said Judith McKenna, chairman of the CBI distributive trades panel and Asda COO


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