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CBI reports fall in June retail sales

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by Kay Mitchell

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Distributive Trades Survey has revealed that consumers continue to cut back as retail sales were weak in June.

According to the CBI, more retailers said sales had fallen rather than risen, giving a balance of – 17%. The figure was in line with analysts’ average forecast but well below its long-term average of +18%, suggesting April’s good performance was as a result of the Easter holidays and sunny weather.

Meanwhile, the CBI’s quarterly figures were the least negative for over 12 months (at a balance of -10%) – an indication that conditions are stabilising.

According to Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, consumers appear to be loosening the purse strings but are “still pretty reluctant to splash out”.

Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and chief operating officer of Asda, comments: “June’s weak sales figures show that business on the high street isn’t getting any easier. The one consolation for retailers is it isn’t getting any worse and the dark days of the winter are behind us.”

Mr Clark adds that it is still “too early to foresee a sustained pick-up in retailers’ fortunes over the coming months and the savviest retailers will continue working hard to offer consumers the best possible value for money.”

July is expected to remain challenging with the balance of -21% forecasting further falls in sales.

However, on a positive note, furniture and carpet retailers reported a rise in sales – attributed to the pick-up in the property market.

Household goods and clothing experienced the biggest falls, while footwear and leather sales remained flat after two months of strong growth, concluded the CBI.

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News posted: June 24, 2009

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