High street sales jump

THE British high street enjoyed a surprisingly healthy September, according to the CBI’s distributive trades survey with the balance of retailers reporting that sales were higher compared to a year earlier rising to the highest level since May 2004.

A net 49 per cent said that sales volumes were greater than a year earlier thanks to the bank holiday weekend, the final discounting in the summer sales, and the launch of autumn fashion ranges.

Household consumption growth gave GDP growth a major boost in the second quarter, with the headline growth figure confirmed at 1.2 per cent yesterday. “The CBI survey suggests that retail spending has remained firm in the third quarter, and is supportive of the view that consumer demand is solid, notwithstanding concerns about government cuts,” said Barclays Capital’s Simon Hayes.

Retailers remained as optimistic about the outlook for October but some economists warned that households could not finance consumption by running down the amount they save forever.