31 October 2012 10:28
The economy received another welcome boost today as figures showed better-than-expected sales growth on the high street.
The latest CBI survey, covering the first half of October, revealed 47% of retailers saw sales rise on a year earlier, while 17% said sales were down, giving a balance of 30.
The result is the best since June, when sales were lifted by the extra bank holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and offers a much-needed boost for retailers in the run-up to Christmas.
Shop owners also believe the rebound will continue next month, with a balance of 27% expecting sales to be higher in November.
The CBI said consumer confidence has been helped by falling inflation after the Consumer Prices Index fell to 2.2% last month, marking its lowest level for nearly three years.
Anna Leach, head of economic analysis at the CBI, said: "Falling inflation has somewhat eased pressures on family budgets, so that households are a little more willing to spend."
The survey adds to hopes that Britain's economy will remain on the mend after emerging from its double-dip recession with stronger-than-expected growth of 1% in the third quarter.
But economists added a note of caution as consumers are expected to come under pressure from rising energy bills and amid concern over the global economy.