High Street spending keeps growing

Latest CBI retail survey shows sales are up, but trend of slower growth continues.
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High Street spending continued to rise in September, according to a recent report from CBI.

37 per cent of retailers reported that sales had risen on a year ago against 25 per cent that said they were down. The resulting balance of +12 per cent falls short of pre-financial turmoil expectations (+17 per cent) and was the lowest balance this year.

However, the sales growth remains above the average rate recorded during the second half of 2006. Retailers also thought that sales were around average for the time of year and expect the more moderate growth in sales to be sustained into October.

There were mixed fortunes across the subsectors, however. Booksellers and stationers recorded the weakest sales balance in the 23 year history of the survey (-77 per cent). Sales of shoes and leather goods continued to grow, but dropped back from the levels seen in the last five months, while clothing sales fell for the fourth month in a row.

"Retailers will be relieved to see that the recent troubles on the financial markets didn't have a serious impact on consumer spending in September," offered John Longworth, chairman of the CBI's Distributive Trades Panel and executive director of Asda. "However, four consecutive months of more modest spending growth prove that higher interest rates are continuing to have an effect."

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