High street trading worsened as retailers saw sales in July fall to their lowest levels in the last 25 years, according to new figures released by CBI. The study, which showed that the summer sales had failed to lure shoppers back to the high street, said that the outlook for August remained bleak. The business group’s latest trade survey showed a balance of 36% of firms reporting weaker sales volumes than a year ago, the worst result since the poll began in 1983. The survey found that 61% of retailers had seen sales in the first half of this month down compared with a year earlier, against 25% who reported sales were up year-on-year. Nearly half of the company’s surveyed described sales for the time of the year as “poor” and 37% predicted similarly poor sales in August. Grocers, including supermarkets, were the only sectors to report year-on-year sales growth. Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI distributive trades panel, and retail director of Asda, said: “It is turning out to be a very grim summer for many retailers. Pressure from higher fuel and food prices is prompting many people to rein in their spending, proving that value retailing has never been more important. “The faltering housing market has really depressed sales of home furnishings and white goods this month and the high street is still struggling, but supermarkets are faring better. “The retail sector will have to focus more than ever on providing good value to customers if they want to keep the sun shining this summer.” The findings echoed recent data from the Office of National Statistics showing the biggest monthly drop in retail sales on record in June, with a 3.9% slump representing the worst fall since records began in 1986.