High Street confidence rises despite fall in sales



High street sales fell for a fourth consecutive month in August but retailers are feeling more confident about the future.
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The resulting balance of -16 per cent compares with -15 per cent in July and -17 per cent in both May and June. The CBI forecasts the balance for September will be -14 per cent.

Andy Clarke, chief operating officer of Asda and chairman of the CBI distributive trades panel, said: “These results round off a slow and disappointing summer for many in the high street, and the picture is not set to improve in September.

“However, throughout the year retailers have become less and less negative about the business outlook, and that reflects increasing signs of stability in the wider economy.”

After 18 months of negative outlook, the balance of firms expecting a deterioration in the “general business situation” in the next three months is minus two per cent, the best reading since November 2007, when the balance was minus one.

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