The CBI said that the balance of retailers reporting a fall in sales volumes in June compared with a year ago was the biggest since it began its surveys.
Only 23% of retailers reported an increase in sales, while 42% said that sales were down.
However, the CBI stressed that the decline was exaggerated from a strong June last year, buoyed by the Euro 2004 football championships.
John Longworth, executive director of Asda and chair of the CBI’s distributive trades panel, said: “A year ago retailers were reaping the benefit of Euro 2004, which was credited with boosting sales of everything from football clothing to TVs and beer.”
“But while this may explain part of the record year-on-year decline now registered, there is no doubt that the underlying picture is also bad.”