Wholesalers report rising sales – CBI survey

The latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey reports that 49% of wholesalers say sales are up on a year ago, with just 16% reporting a fall.

This support’s the survey’s findings of modest high-street sales growth in the year to January. However, the CBI says fortunes were mixed across the different sectors with grocers and furniture and carpets retailers seeing sales volumes rise, while clothes sales – affected by unseasonably mild weather, have slumped.

Meanwhile, the CBI’s newly published data on internet sales volumes shows that they continued to rise steadily over the same period – in line with the series average (since August 2009).

Barry Williams, Asda chief merchandising officer for food, and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, said: “At a time of year when shoppers are recovering from the excesses of Christmas and watching their spending carefully, it’s encouraging that high street sales have continued to grow. Grocers outperformed relative to other retail sectors, and online shopping growth has remained steady.

“While retailers predict some modest growth ahead, the prospect of continually slow pay growth is likely to mean cautious consumers for some time to come.”

Key findings:

  • 33% of retailers said that sales were up on a year ago while 19% said they fell
  • 32% expect sales to grow next month while 17% expect them to decrease
  • Grocers (+50%) and furniture amp; carpet retailers (+44%) saw strong sales performance, while clothing and footwear amp; leather retailers saw a decline in sales (-55% and -14%)
  • 29% placed more orders with suppliers than they did a year ago, and 31% placed fewer
  • 63% of online retailers said that internet sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 11% said that they were down. This was a similar rise to that in December 2013 (+51%), and in line with the series average (since August 2009)
  • Internet sales are expected to rise at a similar pace next month: 63% expect them to be up on a year ago and 12% below, giving a balance of +51%
  • 72% of retailers said that they sold goods over the internet, unchanged for the third month running

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