CBI survey brings hope for High Street
The UK economy received a boost today after the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said retail sales rose at their fastest pace in two years in November.
According to the CBI’s monthly distributive trades survey, retailers expect a further rise in December, boosting hopes of a busy Christmas shopping period on the High Street.
The CBI said its latest distributive trade survey found a 13% balance of firms reported higher sales volumes than a year ago.
While the balance was lower than expected, it was still the best reading since November 2007.
Sales of footwear, durable goods, furniture and carpets were strong but clothing and DIY sales experienced falls.
The CBI added that the improvement is expected to continue, with a balance of 19% expecting sales volumes to be higher in December.
However, the CBI highlights that VAT will revert back to the 17.5% rate on 1 January, 2010, so the outlook for next year is uncertain.
The rise will drove shoppers to purchase big-ticket items before the year end, which could result in big falls in retail sales early in the new year.
In other news, the John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, said sales between Sunday and Wednesday were up more than a fifth compared with a year ago.
The renowned employee-owned department store and owner of the Waitrose supermarket said if the strong sales continued through the weekend, it would be the strongest year-on-year comparison the store has seen so far this year.