Retailers suffer dip in sales following mild winter

Britain’s embattled High Street retailers are enduring a torrid period of winter sales after unseasonably mild weather deterred shoppers from updating their wardrobes.

A survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry found that the volume of clothing sales fell in the year to January, ending a run of growth, with home improvement stores also feeling the pinch.

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI director of economics, said: “With competition remaining fierce and persistent price deflation in the sector, it’s not surprising the outlook for retailers in February looks subdued.

“Retailers will be looking to the Budget for decisive action to reform the cumbersome and outdated business rate system.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom however with grocery retailers reporting continued steady growth over the period.

A total of 136 businesses were quizzed by the CBI for their latest sector snapshot, with 41 per cent of retailers stating that sales volumes had risen in January versus one year ago while 21 per cent reported that volumes had declined.

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