High street sales fell slightly in the year to April 2012 but were in line with expectations for the year, according to a new survey by the CBI. The CBI’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey showed 33% of retailers saw an increase in sales volumes on one year ago, while 39% reported a fall. The resulting balance of -6% marked a slight fall in sales, following little change in the previous two months, although this was in line with expectations (-4%) and retailers judged that sales volumes were consistent for the time of year (0%). Sales volumes are expected to rise in May, with the expectations balance at its highest (+19%) since February 2011 (+25%). Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, said: “The situation on our high streets remains fragile. Consumers are still holding off from buying bigger ticket items, and opting to spend on smaller ‘treat’ purchases that give them a lift without breaking the budget. “If as expected, inflation falls further later this year, we may see some growth in retail sales, but as long as high unemployment and sluggish wage growth dampen confidence, spending will remain tight.” It follows a report yesterday from the BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor that found employment in the retail sector increased by 0.4% in Q1 2012, with 4.9% more stores trading.