By Daniel Hunter

The volume of retail sales in the UK continued to grow in the year to October, with another strong rise expected next month, according to the CBI.

The CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey showed a third successive month of firmly above-average sales growth. Nearly half (48%) of retailers surveyed reported an increase in sales volumes, with just 17% seeing a fall.

But sales growth was mixed across different sub-sectors, and sales fell below average for the time of year.

Grocers (+33%) and the clothing (+86%) sector in particular saw an acceleration in sales growth. However a fall in sales was reported in other sectors, including hardware & DIY (-33%) and specialist food & drink (-24%). Chemists’ sales fell for a second consecutive month.

The volume of orders placed on suppliers rose at a faster pace than expected, while stock adequacy picked up strongly.

Elsewhere, wholesaling sales continued to grow robustly in the year to October and volumes are expected to rise strongly again next month. Sales growth for motor traders picked up, after a marked slowdown in the previous month.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said:

“Sales on our high streets are still ticking along and, with similar prospects next month, retail growth is looking more stable.

“The clothing sector in particular appears to be bouncing back after the mild weather in September deterred people from buying their winter warmers.

“The recent fall in inflation may help lift the spirits of households by making their budgets stretch further. But risks remain to the UK recovery more generally, with the Eurozone stalling, conflict in the Middle East and tensions over Ukraine. This could have an impact on consumer confidence and spending going forward.”

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