Retail sales volumes continued to grow solidly in the year to September, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the previous month, according to the latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The report also shows that the volume of orders placed on suppliers in the retail sector grew strongly, and broadly in line with expectations. Sales rose well above average for the time of year, while stock adequacy edged slightly lower once again.
Sales growth was broad-based across most sub-sectors. Department stores led the way, and footwear & leather and furniture & carpets retailers also performed strongly. However annual sales growth among grocers slowed significantly, while chemists’ sales volumes fell, after having reported strong annual growth in the previous month.
Looking ahead, retail sales volumes are expected to rise strongly again in the year to October, but the pace of growth is set to ease further, CBI said. In the survey of 123 respondents, 42% of retailers said they expect sales volumes to increase in the year to October, while 16% said they will fall, giving a balance of +26%.
CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith commented: “Solid growth continues on the high street, with most sectors doing decent business and department stores performing particularly well. However, the pace of growth in the grocery sector tailed off significantly compared with the previous survey. Retailers are expecting sales to grow again next month, but at a steadier pace.”