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Dip in sales as shoppers keep cash for Black Friday

By Damian Clarkson

Shops have seen a surprise slowdown in sales this month as shoppers delay their spending spree for Black Friday, new figures suggest.

A CBI survey found 38% of firms had seen an increase in sales compared to the same period a year ago, while 31% had seen a drop-off. This represents a total sales balance of +7, which is significantly lower than the expected figure of +28.

IHS chief economist Howard Archer suggested the dip was likely a result of consumers gearing up for this week's Black Friday sales.

While sales growth is down, the CBI data highlighted that firms have been recruiting at their strongest rate for 17 years. Some 38% of firms said they had increased their headcount, while 9% were making reductions.

CBI economics director Rain Newton-Smith said: "After a stronger showing earlier in the year, retailers will naturally be disappointed by the unexpected slowing in sales growth in November."

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