High street sales fell in November against the same period in 2010, representing the sixth consecutive monthly like-for-like decline. That’s according to the latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey from the CBI, which found 26% of retailers saw sales volumes rise in the year to November, while 44% saw them fall. The balance of -19% was weaker than the +4% expected, and it represents the fastest decline in sales since March 2009 (-44%). The decline in sales volumes was driven by pressure on grocers (-21%), specialist food and drink stores (-51%), department stores (-49%) and clothing (-27%), CBI said. The volume of orders placed with suppliers fell in November (-25%), at the fastest rate since March 2009 (-47%). Orders are set to continue falling next month (-18%), the survey found. Employment across the sector fell at the fastest rate since November 2009 (-27%) in the year to November. The survey showed that 13% of retailers increased their headcount, while 40% reduced numbers, giving a balance of -27%. Retailers expect the pace of decline in sales to ease (-6%) in December. Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, said: “Retailers remain hard-pressed, even as we get closer to Christmas. The relatively mild weather this autumn has hit clothing stores particularly hard, and retail sales are down year-on-year for the sixth month in a row. “Retailers may be hoping that shoppers will loosen their purse strings in the run up to Christmas, but consumers are likely to remain cautious about spending given the uncertain economic outlook.”