Retail sales fall to new low

Retail sales fell at the fastest pace in over a year in August as consumers cut back spending, a CBI survey has revealed.

The CBI distributive trades survey’s reported sales balance fell to -14 in August from -5 in July, coming below economists’ forecast of -10.

The expected sales balance for September rose to -7 from -12 for August.

Judith McKenna, chairwoman of the CBI’s distributive trades panel, said: “Sales volumes fell at a pace not seen in over a year as consumers have continued to see their real incomes squeezed by a combination of inflation and weak wage growth.

“Prices will rise more slowly in the coming months and savvy retailers will continue to offer consumers the lowest prices possible.”

The CBI survey comes after it was also revealed that 40% of households saw a deterioration in finances last month.

And footfall figures, also released this week, have heaped more woe on the consumer outlook. Figures published by the British Retail Consortium revealed footfall in Welsh towns and cities dropped by 9.2% between April and July – whereas England suffered an average drop of -1%.