High street sales were flat in the year to October, disappointing retailers’ expectations for another solid rise, but robust growth is expected to return next month, the CBI said today.

The CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 125 firms shows sales stalling after three consecutive months of growth, with grocers among the worst affected. Order growth, however, held up in October, and orders are expected to rise modestly again next month.

“It's also encouraging to see that signs are pointing towards increased consumer confidence - backed up by continuing growth in certain areas such as furniture and carpets"

Elsewhere, wholesalers saw sales growth continuing in line with expectations, although at a slower pace, while sales rose markedly in the motor trade sector.

Barry Williams, Asda's chief merchandising officer for food, and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, says: “Although the high street recovery stalled this month, there is optimism that it was just a blip on the previous run of three months' growth. Retailers expect sales to pick up next month and are upping orders with their suppliers.

“It's also encouraging to see that signs are pointing towards increased consumer confidence - backed up by continuing growth in certain areas such as furniture and carpets, recreational goods, footwear and leather - all did particularly well in October.”