Recovery is on track as Britons keep spending

Tim Wallace
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SALES of clothes and furniture shot up in the year to September, industry data showed today, while department stores saw except­ionally strong growth.

A total of 48 per cent of retailers told the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) their sales were up on the year, far outweighing the 17 per cent who saw sales fall, leaving a net balance of 31 per cent experiencing growth.

The strong result is down a touch from the net balance of 37 per cent last month, but is still one of the strongest figures all year.

The overall impression is that consumers are still pretty active, but have eased back a little on their spending after splashing at a strong rate overall through the first half of the year,” said economist Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight.

“Elevated confidence, high and rising employment and muted inflation is supportive to consumer spending, while a strong housing market also tends to support retail sales.”

Only one sector has seen sales drop – a net balance of 13 per cent of chemists said sales were down on the year this month.