High street retailers continue to struggle, says CBI
High street growth amongst major retailers is still lower than expected, according to the latest figures from the CBI.
Although High street retailers reported a third consecutive month of rising year on year sales and orders in July, these were lower than expected.
The CBI's latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey, covering the first two weeks in July revealed 44% of retailers had seen an increase in sales volumes compared to a year ago, but 33% reported a fall. The resulting balance of +11% was weaker than the 32% increase that retailers had expected for July. Although retailers had seen a 5% growth in orders this was at a slower pace than the 21% expected.
The prospect for August is not strong with retailers predicting little change in sales (up 3%) and orders (down 1%) to the situation a year ago.
Sales also continued to be below average for the time of year, down some 14% against a 21% increase in stock levels up from 11% last June.
Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda chief operating officer, said: "The unprecedented poor weather for the time of year did not help, but retailers also expect conditions to remain tough during August. With consumer confidence weak and wage growth remaining sluggish, the longer term outlook for retailers remains challenging."
Only 18% of wholesalers reported a rise in the volume of sales, while 30% saw a fall. The resulting 12% decline in volume sales was the first fall since November 2011.