UK retail sales grew at a faster pace than expected in the year to September, with firms expecting business to pick up pace in the run-up to Christmas, research shows.
Of the 119 firms polled by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) distributive trades survey, 55 per cent expect sales volumes to increase in the year to September, with four per cent expecting a decrease, giving a balance of 51 per cent – its highest since June.
It comes after 60 per cent of retailers said that sales were up in September compared with the previous year, while 11 per cent said they fell, giving a better-than-expected balance of 49 per cent.
Clothing retailers and grocers led the charge, with volumes up 60 per cent and 32 per cent respectively, while food and drink firms posted their strongest growth since November 2013 – up 47 per cent.
CBI director of economics, Rain Newton-Smith, said: “Clothing and food and drink led the way, and with the general outlook for the economy remaining positive, the expectation is that there will be further encouraging results next month.”