Miranda Dobson

Sales volumes up for half of retailer sector

Retailers reported a marked improvement in sales for the third month in a row, along with an increase in the number of staff on the shop floor.

The latest Distributive Trades Survey from business organisation CBI found that year-on-year sales had grown, with nearly 50% of retailers saying volumes were up from 2011.

Just 16% of stores said volumes were down, resulting in a 33% balance of retailers that saw an improvement.

Despite this good news, many respondents to CBI’s survey said sales were not up to the usual standards they would expect in economically stable times.

Nine out of thirteen individual retail sectors found that sales volumes had improved, while grocers fared particularly well with growth volumes up in 33% of stores for the seventh consecutive month.

CBI’s Head of Economic Analysis, Anna Leach, commented: “This month’s survey is reason to be cheerful as we head into the festive period.

Retailers across the board will be heartened by these encouraging results. “The increase in employment, along with expectations for improvement in the business situation over the next quarter, point to a welcome boost to the sector.

“But the fact that retailers are still reluctant to authorise new capital expenditure shows that there is some way to go before activity on the high street is back to normal.”

Motor traders found they had their best sales since December 2009, however many were cautious with their expectations for the coming month.

Wholesalers said they had a six month high with year-on-year sales, as 29% saw unprecedented grow in their sector.

Retailers remain cautious across the industry, however the overall outlook was positive for stores across the sector.

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