New research by the CBI has revealed high street sales dropped for the second consecutive month in May and retailers put prices up at the fastest rate since 1992. The latest Distributive Trades Survey discovered that 42% of retailers said their year-on-year sales volumes had fallen, while on 28% said they had improved. The CBI said the resulting balance of -14% was in line with retail expectations and is better than the net -26% reported last month. It also added that high street sales are set to recover by a balance of +6% in June. But it warned that the prices of goods in the year to May increased at their fastest rate in 16 years – as retailers passed on the costs of rising energy, food and raw material prices. Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: "The high street has faced another testing month as consumer spending power has been hit by the rising cost of fuel and food, as well as any credit crunch worries. "It is encouraging that retailers can see some recovery in sales next month, but they are not optimistic about the business outlook, and retail conditions are likely to remain tough. "Supermarkets and grocers have had a good month but, in a sign of the times, those selling specialist foods have been hit as consumers cut back on luxuries. Likewise, sales are falling in sectors closely tied to the housing market, such as those selling furniture and white goods." The weaker demand was also reflected by retailers sharply cutting back orders placed with their suppliers, said the CBI. But it said grocers had enjoyed a strong month with more than 51% recording a year-on-year growth – but that those shops selling big-ticket items linked to the housing market had another difficult month, as retailers of durable household goods and hardware, china & DIY all reported falls in sales volumes on a year ago.