Retail sales have risen for the first time since February to July this year as reflected by UK-based premier business lobbying organisation CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey. The survey including 60 retailers saw year-on-year high street sales this month grow at a stronger pace than expected, after a flat first half of 2013. But overall sales volumes remained below average for the time of year and sales growth is expected to ease back slightly in August.
The detailed findings show the strongest growth in clothing since February; a further rise in footwear sales; and department store sales recorded their strongest growth since 1983. Other sub-sectors – including furniture and carpets and specialist food and drinks – witnessed falling sales volumes, while grocery sales growth remained modest.
“The feel-good factor from the heat wave and early summer sales have helped boost high street sales, after a very weak start to the year. A return to even modest spending is welcome news but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve significantly. A positive knock-on effect on retail sales from the royal baby has been mooted, but much more realistically, continued good weather and discounts will play a greater role in retail growth over the next month,” observes Stephen Gifford, CBI Director of Economics.