Sales continue their upward trend

Latest CBI business stats report a positive trading environment for wholesalers with 60% reporting that sales volumes increased in the year to September with more growth anticipated.

The Distributive Trades Survey of 123 respondents also showed that retail sales continued their roll over the period, albeit at a slightly slower rate than the previous month.

The survey also showed that the volume of orders placed on suppliers in the retail sector grew strongly – broadly in line with expectations with sales growth broad-based across most sub-sectors.

Department stores led the charge with footwear amp; leather and furniture amp; carpet retailers performing strongly. However, annual sales growth amongst grocers, the largest sub-sector, slowed significantly, while chemists’ sales volumes fell, after having reported strong annual growth in the previous month.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said: “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.”

Key findings:

  • 48% of retailers said sales volumes increased, while 17% said they fell, giving a balance of +31%
  • Growth was broad based across most sub-sectors, with department stores performing particularly strongly (+100%). Footwear amp; leather and furniture amp; carpet retailers also grew strongly (+61% and +81%). Growth in the grocery sector eased (+25% compared with +60% in August). Chemists’ sales volumes fell on a year ago (-13%)
  • 33% said that orders were up, while 15% said they fell, giving a balance of +19%
  • The volume of sales, 3 month moving average, was +30% – the highest since February 2013 (+33%)
  • The volume of stock in relation to expected demand was +18%, slightly lower than the previous survey (+23%)
  • 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%.

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