Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

High street sales remain sluggish despite rise in April say CBI

The volume of high street sales rose in April compared with year ago, the CBI said yesterday.

The CBI’s latest Distributive Trades Survey found that 45% of retailers saw the volume of sales rise in the year to April, while 24% said they fell.

The resulting balance of +21% was in line with expectations (+18%), but next month no growth in sales volumes is expected (-1%).

Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, said:“Despite slightly better year-on-year sales growth in April, this survey shows things are far from rosy on the high street.

“For the third month in a row, retailers considered sales to be unseasonably poor, stocks are running quite high, and orders with suppliers are expected to fall.

“With few signs of demand picking up rapidly in the coming months, conditions on the high street look like remaining tough for retailers.”

The CBI said nearly all the retailing sub-sectors saw a modest improvement in sales growth in the year to April, with the two largest sectors among the strongest performers.

Grocers reported a balance of +53%, compared with +39% last month, and clothing retailers saw +48% against +22%.

In contrast, chemists’ sales volumes took a further turn for the worse (a balance of -52% compared with -5% in March).

Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and ASDA chief financial officer, said: “Retailers are having to pull out all the stops to achieve sales growth, and this month was no exception.

“The squeeze on people’s pockets from rising commodity prices means consumers are seeking out value wherever they can.

“This month’s survey shows sales of dearer goods, such as consumer durables, hardware and DIY, are a particular stretch for hard-pressed households.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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