Consumer spending eases back after summer splurge

Jake Cordell
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Heathrow Terminal 5 Shops
Shops were a little less crowded in September than last year, the CBI found (Source: Getty)

UK shoppers cut back in September following a summer splurge, though it has not dented the confidence of retailers, a new survey has found.

The CBI’s distributive trades survey found 38 per cent of shops said sales volumes were down on September last year, while 30 per cent reported growth. The score of minus eight compares to a reading of nine last month and was below expectations for three.

Despite the fall, the balance of retailers expecting volumes to grow in October came in at seven, suggesting the slowdown could be a temporary pause following surprisingly strong spending in the wake of the EU referendum. Food outlets and grocers saw sales slip but DIY stores and clothing brands reported strong demand.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI warned: “Consumer confidence has been dented since earlier in 2016 and higher inflation is likely to squeeze household incomes over the year ahead. With margins remaining tight, retailers are set to continue to operate in a fiercely competitive environment for some time.”

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