Retailers show robust growth

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Retail sales remained resilient in the year to November, with the pace of growth expected to accelerate once again in the crucial Christmas run up, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 130 firms also showed employment growth remained robust, with the rise in headcount in the retail sector expected to be the fastest since May 2002 in the year to December.

Investment intentions for next year remained positive with respondents expecting a moderate improvement in their business situation over the next three months. Average selling prices have been under pressure, and are now rising at their slowest pace since May 2009.

Sales volumes rose particularly strongly among grocers, furniture & carpet and hardware & DIY retailers.

Barry Williams, of the CBI, said: “It’s no secret that it has been a demanding year for the retail industry but shopkeepers haven’t been pulling their punches when it comes to getting shoppers through their doors – borne out with the lowest essential item inflation in five years.”