UK high street sales remained flat in October 2013 after three consecutive months of growth, disappointing retailers’ expectations for another solid rise, according to the latest data released from the Distributive Trades Survey by The Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The survey, conducted between 25 September and 16 October, included 125 firms, of which 67 are retailers, 50 wholesalers and eight motor traders.
The agency noted that most of the sub-sectors saw a deterioration in sales growth. In particular, grocers saw the first year-on-year fall of 17% in sales volumes in eight months.
However, some sectors such as footwear & leather and chemists witnessed growth of 37% and 67% respectively.
Over the month, wholesalers saw sales growth continuing in line with expectations, although at a slower pace, while sales rose markedly in the motor trade sector.
Orders growth waas held up in October, but are expected to rise modestly again next month.
According to the survey, 42% of firms reported rise in sales volumes over a year earlier and 39% reported decline, giving a balance of 2, well below expectations of +31%.
CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel chair Barry Williams said although the high street recovery was stalled this month, there is optimism that it was just a blip on the previous run of three months’ growth.
"Retailers expect sales to pick up next month and are upping orders with their suppliers."
"It’s also encouraging to see that signs are pointing towards increased consumer confidence – backed up by continuing growth in certain areas such as furniture and carpets; recreational goods; footwear and leather – all did particularly well in October," Williams added.