Retailers expect sharp December sales growth: CBI

British retail sales volumes dropped slightly in November, but the pace of growth is expected to accelerate once again in the crucial Christmas run up, according to CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

In a survey of 130 firms, 44% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 17% said they were down, giving a balance of +27%, below analysts’ expectations of +31%.

But retailers expect sales volumes to grow at a stronger pace in December (+38%), with 50% expecting them to rise and 12% to fall, the report showed.

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Commenting on the results, Barry Williams, CBI distributive trades survey chairman and Asda chief merchandising officer for food said: “It’s no secret that it has been a demanding year for the retail industry but shopkeepers haven’t been pulling their punches when it comes to getting shoppers through their doors – borne out with the lowest essential item inflation in five years and growing online sales.”

“This latest survey shows many have been winning some rounds in what has been one of the most challenging years for both the industry, and for customers,” he added.

“With prices under pressure and more firms adopting US-style Black Friday offers, retailers are expecting a festive boost next month and are certainly doing their best to put smiles on customers’ faces and make it easy on their pockets.”

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