Exceptionally hot weather in August kept British shoppers at home according to the Confederation of British Industry, but retailers still have strong expectations for September.

Just 12 per cent of respondents polled for the CBI's latest monthly retail sector survey said sales were higher in August than a year earlier, compared with a rise of 27 per cent in the previous month.

Among the worst hit were stores selling clothing, footwear, and leather goods, while grocers selling cold drinks, ice cream and barbecue foods enjoyed strong sales.

The CBI believes this sharper than expected slowdown as a one-off because of the heatwave.

It adds that not only are retailers' expectations for September the strongest for 10 months, but they are also more optimistic about the overall business situation in the coming six months than at any time since May 2002.