Retail sales fell in the year to January despite modest growth last month, finds the Confederation of British Industry.
Retail sales fell in the year to January despite modest growth last month, finds the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
According to the latest monthly CBI Distributive Trades Survey covering the first two weeks in January, 44 per cent of retailers saw sales volumes fall on a year ago, while 22 per cent reported a rise, giving a balance of -22 per cent.
Retailers reported that sales were disappointing for the time of year, with a balance of -20, and orders were also down (-14), with firms expecting levels to fall again next month (-23).
Most sectors reported a fall in sales volumes on a year ago, including hardware & DIY (-80) and non-specialised retailers such as department stores (-34).
However, grocers saw a modest increase in sales (+6), following a much stronger trading period in December (+52). The non-store category, which includes online and mail-order, performed well (+50).
Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser Ian McCafferty says, ‘Shoppers have reined in spending across the board at the start of the New Year after taking advantage of early discounting last month, which boosted pre-Christmas sales.
‘Consumers are still holding off particularly from buying big ticket items like washing machines and fridges. Online and mail order sales were the only areas that performed well in January, but growth was still down on last month.’
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