The survey revealed that flat retail sales volumes in the year to March ended a six-month run of slowing growth. Additionally, sales volumes were found to be well below average for the time of year, and weaker than expected.
Despite being flat on a year ago, orders were better than expected.
Next month’s outlook is a positive one, however, with retailers expecting sales volumes and orders to increase.
Chief merchandising officer for food and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey panel Barry Williams said: “This month we’ve seen a glimmer of hope for retailers fade away, with the news that six months of sales growth has come to an end. All eyes are now on April when retailers expect sales to return to form.
“However, pay freezes and the rising cost of living are hitting households hard and, added to a challenging economic picture, there may well be more tough trading conditions ahead.”