Thirty-seven percent of retailers surveyed said sales were down compared with a year earlier, while 36 percent said they had increased.
Clothing and footwear stores suffered the biggest drop in sales, while trade was better at supermarkets, furniture stores and online.
Fashion retailers saw biggest drop in sales
Sales volumes were well below average for the time of year, to a much greater extent than expected. The volume of orders also fell on a year ago, once again disappointing expectations of growth, while stock levels remained above their long-run average relative to expected demand.
Expectations for next month have dampened, with retailers expecting both sales volumes and orders to fall.
"Retailers were frustrated this month by the ongoing stagnation in sales growth,” said Barry Williams, chairman of the CBI distributives trade survey panel and Asda’s chief merchandising officer for food."
“This may be explained in part by the unseasonal weather we suffered, but there is no doubt that high street conditions are tricky with consumers lacking the confidence to go out and spend, as they still feel the pinch in their pocket."
Image: UK High Street