The survey of 88 firms found that 58% of retailers said sales were down compared with June last year. Within the retail sector, grocers were the largest contributors to the fall in sales volumes, with the hardware and DIY and footwear and leather sub-sectors also reporting declines.
It also found internet sales across the sector stalled in the year to June, broadly flat on a year ago at +3%, marking the weakest growth since 2009. The firm said internet sales growth is expected to pick up next month +23%, albeit at a pace well below the long-run average (+46%).
Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said: “This month’s drop in sales should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the backdrop of last June’s heatwave and the start of the World Cup. But even accounting for both factors, underlying conditions on the high street remain challenging. Retailers are having to continually compete for the attention of value-conscious shoppers, in the age of digital disruption.
“The new prime minister must help support retailers by reducing the high cumulative burden of costs they face. This should start by urgently reviewing the dire business rates system, which is unfairly impacting UK high streets and deterring much needed investment.”