The economy has been dealt some much needed good news with figures showing that retail sales are growing at their fastest pace for two years, while a further improvement is expected in the run up to Christmas. Furthermore, business sentiment about the retail sector over the coming three months is now positive for the first time since August 2007, the latest Distributive Trade Survey conducted by the CBI has found.
Forty per cent of retailers said that their volume of sales in the year to November had risen, compared with 27 per cent who felt their sales had fallen.
The balance of 13 per cent which felt sales had risen reflects a second consecutive month of growth and is the most positive balance recorded since November 2007.
Of the respondents, a positive balance of 19 per cent of retailers expects sales volumes to improve next month during the Christmas period, when compared with December last year.
The positive figures appear to be fuelling an optimistic feeling amongst high street retailers. Asked about the outlook for their general business situation, a balance of 13 per cent of firms said they expect performance to improve over the next three months.
It is the first time the question has evoked a positive response from retailers since August 2007 and is the strongest figure seen since May 2004.
Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, said: "It's reassuring that the high street now has a second month of sales growth behind it, and it looks like December will be even better.
"A lot of retailers have suffered during 2009, and many are relieved that the year is ending on a more positive note."
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