High street sales better than expected in July

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CBI figures show retailers in numerous sectors are seeing sales rise.

The latest CBI Distributive Trade Survey has shown that high street sales were up in July compared to a year ago, and that retailers expect the growth to continue in August.

The survey showed that, while 18% of retailers said that sales were lower than a year ago, 51% said they rose – giving an balance of +33%. The CBI had expected a figure of +11% based on the previous month’s results. This is the highest balance since April 2007 (+44%).

Grocery, clothing, and footwear and leather were the strongest sub-sectors. The CBI attributed the growth to a mix of annual summer discounts, warm weather and the effect of the World Cup.
The CBI has estimated a balance of +45% for August.

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Lai Wah Co, CBI head of economic analysis, said: “High street sales have performed well this month, with growth better than retailers predicted. Annual summer discounts and warm weather helped lift sales of clothing, while grocers and durable household goods retailers appear to have benefitted from a World Cup boost to sales of food, drink and new televisions.

“Retailers are optimistic that strong sales growth will continue next month, which is promising. We still expect the recovery in overall consumer spending to be fairly restrained, however, given concerns about the impact of public spending cuts and weak prospects for real take-home pay in the coming year.”

The July Distributive Trades Survey was conducted between 23 June and 14 July, and included 131 companies.

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