Fears of a continuing high street slowdown were confirmed in the latest CBI monthly retail survey, which found that sales growth was at its slowest for almost a year.

A drop in year-on-year sales in the first half of October was reported by 33% of retailers compared with 42% who said sales were up.

This rounded balance of +10% is the weakest since November 2006 and, for the third month in a row, was below the long-term average of +18%. The grocery trade had a balance of +19%, the same as in September.

The CBI said the slowdown reflects the impact on consumers of five interest rate rises in a year. Slightly better sales are expected in November, although the Christmas period is likely to be slow.