Tuesday, the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed that 44% of retailers reported annual rise in sales volume, while 41% registered fall, resulting in a positive balance of 3% for the first half of April. This was the highest balance since January 2008.

However, retailers do not expect it to last into May. A balance of minus 15% forecasts sales to decline again.

The three month moving average of sales volumes, which smoothes out monthly peaks and troughs, remained negative at 22%, but was an improvement over minus 39% reported in March.

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