The pace of UK retail sales growth slowed in the year to January, according to the
CBI’s first monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 2013 - - the
Confederation of British Industry is the UK's main business lobbying group.
The survey, covering the first fortnight of January, shows 41% of retailers
reported increased sales volumes compared with a year ago and 24% reported a
fall. The resulting balance of +17%, although better than expected (+10%), shows
a similar picture to December (+19%) but falls short of the robust growth in
October (+30%) and November last year (+33%).
Sales volumes in January were broadly in line with the average for the time of
year (+1%) for the first time since April 2012 (0%).
But retailers expect sales to dip slightly below seasonal norms once again in
February (-7%) and are predicting year-on-year sales growth to slow slightly
further in the next month (+13%).
Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda
operating officer said:
“Despite mixed news from the high street over the last few weeks, strong sales
growth in the grocery sector has added a touch of sparkle to overall retail
“However, we are far from out of the woods. With tough trading conditions and
subdued consumer spending adding to the uncertain economic picture, retailers
will continue to face tough market conditions in the coming months.”
The survey showed retailers’ orders
with suppliers rising on a year ago for a fifth consecutive month (+15%) but
orders are expected to plateau in February (+1%). Stock levels were slightly
more than adequate relative to expected demand (+5%), falling back for the
second month running.
By sector, the survey shows that grocers recorded their ninth successive month
of rising year-on-year sales (+41%) – holding up total retail sales growth, and
partially compensating for falling volumes and weakening growth rates elsewhere.
Clothing sales growth (+13%) was at its lowest level since last August, and
footwear and leather sales fell slightly on a year ago, for the third month
running (-6%). Specialist food and drink sales (-32%) fell at their fastest
since last October and sales of big-ticket household goods continued to fall
Other survey figures showed wholesalers reporting
broadly flat sales on a year ago (-3%), down on expected growth (+12%). Food and
drink sales continued to rise on a year ago (+34%) but this was offset by
falling sales in other sectors.
traders sector also disappointed,
with reported sales volumes down on a year ago (-11%), falling short of
The January 2013 CBI monthly Distributive Trades Survey was conducted between
2nd and 16th January 2013. 127 firms replied, of which 65 were retailers, 56
were wholesalers, and 6 were motor traders.
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