>>pessimism grows as sales fall

The picture among independent retailers is rosier this month, with a third of those polled saying current trade was better compared to the same time last year. This is up from a quarter last month.

This time, however, just under a quarter report trade down in our monthly Business Barometer. And more independents believe trade will be worse over the next three months. Last month 16% thought sales would be worse - this figure has now grown to 22%, although 32% of those polled expect sales to improve over the next three months.

Fewer independents expect to either increase or decrease investment, with over half saying their level of investment will be the same as last year.
Source: based on research carried out by The Knowledge Store in the week commencing 16/8/03 For more details call 01293 610400