Steady growth for wholesale sector

Wholesalers are continuing to see steady sales growth according to the latest CBI Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

More than half (55%) of wholesaler reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 17% said they were down, giving a balance of +38% – a sharp rise on the previous month (+2%)

Almost all categories saw strong growth: industrial materials (+82%), building materials (+90%), agricultural amp; industrial machinery (+51%), food amp; drink (+43%), durable household goods (+40%).

The CBI’s figures show that retail sales continued to grow steadily in the year to May, for the sixth consecutive month, although at a slower pace than in April.

The survey shows that retailers expect a faster rise in sales next month, and expect their business situation to improve over the coming quarter. However, grocers saw a slower annual rise in retail sales in May, driving overall sales growth lower. Despite that, growth in this sector remained strong overall, said the CBI.

Internet retail sales also rose robustly, according to the survey, but at the slowest pace since June 2013.

Barry Williams, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel and Asda SVP and chief merchandising officer for food, said: “Retailers’ predictions of further sales growth bore fruit this month. Although that growth was at a slower rate than expected, the fact we’ve seen a steady increase for six consecutive months is a sign we’re heading towards sustainable growth and strengthening consumer optimism – and it’s good to hear shopkeepers telling us they expect even stronger figures next month.”

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