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Consumers stay at home as optimism slips again

Consumers - High street suffered a setback this month as shoppers stayed at home - SantanderCB

The high street suffered a setback this month as shoppers stayed at home amid signs that consumer confidence is waning despite improving household finances. The CBI's monthly distributive trades survey reported that 38% of retailers saw an increase in sales volumes on last year, while 20% said they were down. The difference of +19 points was a sharp fall from the +49 points posted in September. The CBI sought to play down the drop, saying sales were 'well above average for the time of year and growth is expected to improve slightly next month'. However, a separate survey suggested that household optimism was waning. GfK's consumer confidence index slipped from +3 in September to +2 in October, the second monthly decline in a row and its lowest level since May. Although households remain confident about their personal financial situation, they are growing more pessimistic about the general economic outlook. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, suggested that weaker retail sales may be natural after such a strong September. 'Growth in sales and orders for high street retailers remains resilient, but there has been a slight slowdown in the pace of that growth following a strong September,' she said. The CBI revealed that internet sales volumes accelerated in the year to October, and growth is set to pick up further next month. Almost all sectors recorded growth, although grocers and clothing experienced a slight slowdown.

 

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