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The CBI survey contradicts slowing retail sales growth

The CBI has today released a survey showing that many retailers in the UK believe there will be significant growth in the fourth quarter as the UK economy begins the long road to recovery. The survey showed that 41% of those involved confirmed their sales grew in October against just 33% who reported a fall. This 8% balance is up from 3% in September and is the best since December 2007.

However, the figure is even more encouraging for November with a net 19% believing their sales will grow although whether this is misplaced optimism in the short term remains to be seen. Recent figures from the high street suggested that retail sales growth was slowing even though more and more companies are bringing forward their winter and Christmas sales. The sector will remain challenging for some time to come and many are banking on a better-than-expected Christmas to not only increase their profitability but also replenish their balance sheets and improve their cash flow.

Despite the fact that Christmas is "the" season for UK retailers with regards to sales growth, there can be significant pressure on balance sheets if the mix of finance available and sales are not in line. We await the first trading statements in early January which will make interesting reading either way.

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