High street 'bounding ahead' as retailers' outlook reaches 27 year high, CBI figures show

The latest CBI survey shows sales have been well above average

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The Independent Online

High street sales are “bounding ahead,” giving retailers the best outlook for 27 years due to falling prices and a boost to consumer spending power, according to new figures from the Confederation of Business Industry.

The CBI’s latest quarterly distributive trade survey showed that sales were well above average for this time of year, hitting a level that has not been seen since 2007, and that orders placed upon suppliers rose at the fastest pace since December 2010.

Figures showed that 58 per cent of retailers are expecting sales to rise again next month, giving the most positive reading for 27 years.

Employment stabilised in this year and most retail subsectors reported robust growth in sales volumes, the CBI said, including grocers and non-specialised stores, which had reported strong performances, rebounding from negative showings in previous months.


The CBI said sales growth reached a record high for recreational goods, such as games and sporting equipment, while department stores also saw very strong sales growth. Hardware and DIY retailers saw a fall in sales volume for the year to May, however.

Rain Newton-Smith, Director of Economics at the CBI, said that retailers will be “encouraged to see growth in sales and orders on the high street bounding ahead,” adding, “low inflation, which we expect to remain below 1% for the rest of the year, has given household incomes a much-needed boost and greater spending power.

“Overall the outlook is bright for firms on the high street, but challenges still remain, especially for food retailers, who are still feeling the heat of stiff price competition from new entrants to the sector. And investment plans have also taken a hit.”

Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, cheered a “cracking” survey result.

He added: “It is looking increasingly likely that robust consumer spending will help the UK economy regain momentum in the second quarter after gross domestic product growth moderated to just 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter.”

Additional reporting by PA