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Retail sales grew only modestly in September, according to the CBI, raising serious questions about the strength consumer spending in the third quarter. The CBI's sales index declined to +11% from +60% in August, although retailers expected a modest acceleration in October, with the expectation index stretching to +29%.
"Demand cooled for retailers in the year to September after running red hot over the summer, pushing sales below seasonal norms for the first time since March," said Ben Jones, CBI principal economist.
The soft sales data follow two consecutive declines in official retail sales volumes in July and August, according to official numbers released by the ONS. Order growth also slowed, with the CBI index declining to +20% from +68% in August, although retailers expect an uptick next month, with the next rising to +24%. Stock levels were regarded as "too low" for the first straight month, although the CBI index improved to -11% from -20% in August.