|Chelmsford's High Street. |
UK retailers reported a strong rise in sales
volumes in the year to October and expect that growth will continue at a similar
pace next month, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry). said today.
In the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades
Survey, covering the first two and a half weeks of October, 47% of retailers
reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago and 17% stated that sales had
fallen. The resulting balance of +30% well exceeded expectations (+15%), and was
the fastest rate of sales growth since June (+42%). Looking ahead, retailers
expect growth in sales volumes to be similarly robust in the year to November
In line with rising sales, the volume of orders
placed on suppliers increased moderately (+4%), compared to expectations of
being flat (-2%).
Despite the second consecutive month of sales
growth, high-street retailers still considered the volume of sales to be below
average for the time of year (-7%). However, sales were below seasonal norms to
the least extent since April (0%), and the survey balance was a little better
than expected (-11%).
There was solid growth in a number of individual
retail sectors. Clothing and furniture & carpets reported the greatest
year-on-year increases in sales (+57% and +58% respectively), with the clothing
sector posting the first sales growth since July (+56%). Grocers also reported a
rise in year-on-year sales volumes for the sixth month running (+33%), and the
footwear & leather sector remained strong, with sales increasing (+39%) for the
seventh consecutive month.
Anna Leach, CBI head of economic analysis,
said: “It is great news that last month’s sales growth has continued into
October, at a much faster pace than expected, and that this momentum is expected
to continue next month too.
Falling inflation has somewhat eased pressures on
family budgets, so that households are a little more willing to spend. But
there’s still a risk that on-going uncertainty over the global economic outlook
could dent consumer confidence, hitting prospects for the retail sector, while
the scope for inflation to fall further is limited.”
Elsewhere, wholesalers saw a slight fall in sales
volumes on a year ago (-6%), despite expectations of modest growth (+6%), and
sales are expected to continue falling in November (-6%).
Meanwhile, the motor trades sector saw the first
year-on-year rise in sales volumes (+4%) since March, surpassing expectations of
a decline (-20%), although sales are expected to fall once again next month
The October 2012 CBI Distributive Trades Survey was conducted
between 26th September and 17th October. 124 firms replied.
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