British Retailers Report Smaller Fall in Sales, with Optimism for Future Improvement
British retailers have reported a smaller annual fall in sales for September compared to the previous month, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The CBI’s September monthly retail sales survey, conducted between August 25 and September 13, revealed a rebound in the headline balance to a three-month high of -14, up from August’s more than two-year low of -44.
“There are some elements of optimism in our survey with retailers expecting the recent fall in sales to continue to ease,” said Martin Sartorius, CBI Principal Economist. He also highlighted that the lower than expected inflation figures, which will ease pressure on household budgets, give retailers hope for the crucial autumn and winter trading period.
The expected sales balance for October also rose to a three-month high of -8. This comes after Britain’s most recent official retail sales data showed a 0.8% month-on-month growth in sales volumes in August, following a sharp 1.1% drop in July. Unusually wet weather in July disrupted normal summer spending patterns, but the August figures indicate a recovery.
In addition, consumer price inflation unexpectedly fell last month, dropping to 6.7% from July’s 6.8%. This is the lowest level in 18 months and has prompted the Bank of England to hold off from raising interest rates. However, the CBI did warn that higher oil and fuel prices “could mean sticky inflation is with us for a while longer.”
The chief executive of supermarket Aldi UK, Giles Hurley, highlighted that cost of living concerns continue to influence food shopping habits.
Overall, the CBI’s survey suggests a more positive outlook for the retail sector in the coming months. The combination of improving sales figures, lower inflation, and the easing pressure on household budgets is expected to contribute to a modest improvement in the industry. However, the possible impact of higher oil and fuel prices on inflation remains a concern, and retailers will need to monitor this closely.
These developments will be closely watched by consumers and businesses alike, as the autumn and winter trading period is crucial for the retail sector. With the holiday season around the corner, retailers will be hoping for a boost in sales to recover from the challenging months they have faced.
More detail via Investing.com UK here… ( Image via Investing.com UK )