UK July retail sales volumes slip again but August’s a concern - CBI
UK retail sales volumes continued to fall month-on-month, albeit slightly, in the year to July, according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey. Online sales volumes also painted a similar picture.
However, the picture darkens for August when retailers expect omnichannel sales volumes to decline at a quicker rate and order volumes to slide even faster, the CBI also noted.
That “modest” volume dip in July added up to a reading of -4% from -5% in June, marking the fourth consecutive month in which volumes have failed to grow.
Online sales volumes also continued to contract in the year to July, at a broadly similar pace to last month (-37% from -38% in June). This marks the sixth consecutive monthly fall in e-sales.
Generally, retail sales were seen as “poor” for the time of year in July, but to a lesser extent than in June (-9% from -19% in June).
However next month, retailers expect sales rates to decline to -14%. Meanwhile, the dip in internet sales is set to slow to -22%.
Meanwhile, retailers’ orders placed with suppliers in the year to July fell at a slightly quicker pace than last month (-13% from -8% in June). The decline in orders is expected to accelerate further next month (-28%).
Stock levels in relation to expected sales were viewed as “too high” by retailers in July (+29% from +12% in June), to the greatest extent since July 2020. Stock positions are expected to remain “too high” next month too (+25%).
Martin Sartorius, the CBI’s Principal Economist, said: “Retail activity continues to take a hit as consumers struggle to cope with the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
“The Government needs to act to inspire business confidence and stimulate growth. Fundamentally reforming both business rates and the apprenticeship levy are crucial starting points to encourage investment, which will play a key role in improving living standards in the long-term.”
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