... and figures that show they might have peaked

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tough trading conditions on the high street continued into February, it emerged yesterday as new reports showed a slump in shopper numbers and only a meagre rise in sales.

Tough trading conditions on the high street continued into February, it emerged yesterday as new reports showed a slump in shopper numbers and only a meagre rise in sales.

The number of visitors to UK shopping centres was 1.7 per cent lower than a year ago, taking the three-month average to a 17-month low of minus 2.7 per cent, an analysts firm said.

SPSL said the North was the only region not to see a decline in numbers, with even Valentine's Day failing to trigger a rise.

Tim Denison, a director of SPSL, said: "The only upside is the figures should help allay concerns registered by members of the MPC ... and lend weight to the case to leave interest rates unchanged."

A survey of retailers by the CBI, the employers' organisation, found that sales edged up by less than expected in February. Thirty per cent of firms reported sales up on a year ago while 28 per cent said they were down, a balance at plus two, up from minus three in January.

The survey also showed that the number of firms cutting jobs rose to its highest level in more than 12 years.

The gloom was compounded by the snapshot survey of manufacturing last month by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, which showed that output grew at its slowest pace for 18 months while export sales fell. Similar surveys in both the US and the eurozone also registered weakness.

Comments