Retailers celebrate positive sales ahead of festive season

THE high street is looking forward to a buoyant Christmas, after reporting the fastest sales growth in two years yesterday. Confidence among retailers has turned positive for the first time since August 2007.<br /><br />The CBI&rsquo;s latest Distributive Trades Survey showed 40 per cent of retailers reported higher sales volumes in November compared with a year ago, while 27 per cent said they fell. <br /><br />The resulting balance of 13 per cent marked the second consecutive month of growth. A net 19 per cent of retailers expect sales to improve in the run-up to Christmas.<br /><br />&ldquo;Christmas is in full swing on the high street, and retailers have their sights set firmly on bringing customers in-store to spend early with many opting to advance their seasonal sales or for flash discounting,&rdquo; said Richard Lowe, Head of Retail and Wholesale at Barclays.<br /><br />A net 13 per cent of firms felt optimistic about their prospects in the next three months &ndash; the strongest result since May 2004. The volume of orders placed on suppliers rose for the first time since January 2008, and prices continued to increase.<br /><br />The CBI said grocers and shoe retailers saw positive growth this month.