Retail sales surge in August: CBI

Retail sales grew strongly in the year to August with the pace of growth expected to accelerate again in the month ahead, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

In a survey of 142 firms, 51% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 14% said they were down, giving a balance of +37%, its highest level since February, from +21% in July and well above economists’ forecasts of +27.

Retailers expect their overall business situation to improve over the next three months (+25%), the highest figure since May 2002 (+33%).

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CBI deputy director general Katja Hall said: “The high streets have been bustling with shoppers this summer and it is good to see firms so optimistic about their business prospects for the next three months – higher than at any time since 2002.

“Retailers looking forward to stronger growth in September are keeping their shelves well-stocked in anticipation.”

The report also showed that the volume of internet sales rose 47% and is expected to grow at an even faster pace next month (+62%).

Meanwhile, 63% of wholesalers reported sales volumes to be up on last year and 13% said they were down, giving a balance of +50%, the highest since December 2012.


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