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Start of summer sees retail sales growth

Retailers reported that growth in sales volumes picked up in the year to June, according to the latest monthly CBI Distributive Trades Survey

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The survey of 115 firms, of which 59 were retailers, showed that the volume of sales and orders placed upon suppliers grew modestly – exceeding expectations in both cases – in the year to June. Internet sales volumes also picked up in the year to June, with growth broadly in line with the long-run average, but retailers expect somewhat slower growth in the year to July.

“The start of summer has seen shoppers hit the high street, lifting sales – if only modestly," says Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence. "However, there’s no getting away from the fact that life is getting tougher, with retailers clearly cautious over the near-term outlook. The new Government must now look to picking up the pace of delivery of much-needed reform. Retailers will want to see a full review of the distorted Business Rates system sooner rather than later.”

Key findings found:

  • 23% of retailers said that sales volumes were up in June on a year ago, whilst 11% said they were down, giving a balance of +12%. This outperformed expectations (+6%)
  • 14% of respondents expect sales volumes to increase next month, with 11% expecting a decrease
  • 24% of retailers placed more orders with suppliers than they did a year ago
  • 9% of retailers reported that their volume of sales for the time of year were good in June, whilst 12% said they were poor
  • 41% of wholesalers reported sales volumes were up in the year to June, and 16% said they were down, giving a balance of +25%, the slowest pace of growth since August 2016 (+22%). Volumes are expected to grow at an even slower pace next month (+14%)
  • The volume of orders placed upon suppliers remained robust (+20%) and is expected to increase next month (+35%)
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