High Street sales jobs suffer slump

The wet summer and the continued pressure on consumer spending has hit sales and jobs on the High Street, according to a report by Confederation of British Industry.

The CBI Distributive Trades Survey says that 60% of respondents said sales in the first half in August were lower than a year ago with just 13% reporting an increase. The resulting balance shows of 46% was worse than anticipated and is the weakest since the survey began in 1983.

The survey also found that a balance of 43% of retailers say that sales are “poor” for the time of year. Meanwhile, the rate growth in selling rise has also dropped back from the previous survey’s 16 year high, although 48% of retailers reported that prise rises are well the long-term average.

The employer’s organisation says that it has been a summer that most retailers “would rather forget” with sharp falls in sales volumes. Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, says: “Retail conditions have been extremely tough this simmer, and the wet August has been a further blow. Sadly, no let up is expected as we head into early autumn.”

It is the latest survey to highlight the weakening of the UK economy. Last week, figures from the Office of National Statistics showed the UK economic growth ground to standstill in the first quarter of this year. Although the most recent ONS retail figures show that retail is in recovery.

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