UK clothing retailers have recorded the sharpest volume declines in two years, as the country's retail sector continued to be hit by weak consumer confidence.

The CBI today (25 August) said that clothing retailers saw sales volumes fall 27% on averagte during Augst, the lowest fall since August 2009 when they fell 35%. However, sales of footwear and leather rose 38%, the first rise since May.

According to the latest Distributive Trades Survey found that retailers were the most negative they have been about the general business situation since February 2009.

It found that 46% of retailers saw volumes fall in the two weeks to 16 August, while another 31% saw them rise over the period. The resulting fall of 14% was the most negative since May 2010, but was in line with expectations of a 12% fall.

"As expected, August was a tough month on the high street. Sales volumes fell at a pace not seen in over a year, as consumers have continued to see their real incomes squeezed by a combination of inflation and weak wage growth, said CBI Distributive Trades Panel chair and Asda COO Judith McKenna.

"This survey suggests that prices will rise more slowly in the coming months, and savvy retailers will continue to offer consumers the lowest prices possible, but with energy and commodity costs still high, families' spending power looks like being constrained for some time."