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CBI: UK retail sales growing strongly

Date Added: 29/08/2013  

Retailers in the UK may have turned a corner after a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that strong sales growth has been seen in the last 12 months.

According to the latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey of 125 firms by the CBI, retail sales grew strongly in the year to August at a pace faster than expectations, as well as quicker than at any time since November 2012.

It was revealed by the body that this was the second consecutive quarter of growth, with a number of sectors experiencing solid levels of expansion over the course of the last 12 months. The CBI also pointed out that clothing sales, grocers and recreational goods have been performing particularly well in the last year.

Barry Williams, Asda's chief merchandising officer for food and the chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, stated that the summer heatwave has had a positive impact on retail sales, while feelgood factors such as the birth of Prince George have also been a boost for the sector in the last few months.

"A rise in spending is welcome news, but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve further," he said, adding: "Retailers expect another similarly strong month of sales growth in September, but this isn't a time to rest on our laurels as shoppers may return to cautious spending until they see a sustained improvement to the pound in their pocket."

Mr Williams suggested that retail sales could even be flat from now until the start of the festive period unless consumers believe the economy is improving to an extent that they can afford to splash out on new items.

This CBI research comes only a short time after the the latest British Retail Consortium-Springboard Footfall Monitor showed that footfall was 0.1 per cent higher in June 2013 than in the same month last year. This was an early sign that the sector may have bounced back from the 0.7 per cent year-on-year drop recorded in May.

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Posted by Michael Beam

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