Retail sales slide in April as shoppers tighten belts

The closely-watched Confederation of British Industry survey revealed its headline retail sales balance plummeted to -35% in April.

Henry Saker-Clark
Wednesday 27 April 2022 13:29
People queuing for shops at the opening of the St James Quarter shopping centre in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)
People queuing for shops at the opening of the St James Quarter shopping centre in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Retail sales volumes sank in April for the first time in more than a year, according to new figures.

The closely-watched Confederation of British Industry (CBI) monthly distributive trades survey revealed the slump as the increased cost of living continues to weigh on shoppers.

The CBI’s headline retail sales balance plummeted to -35% in April, from a +9% reading in March.

Surveyed firms said they expect sales volumes to continue to decline, although at a more modest pace, as firms predicted a -8% reading for May.

The survey question deducts the number of firms saying they reported a decline in sales from the number reporting growth for the period.

The data also showed the first fall in the number of orders made to suppliers in 13 months amid the dampening in consumer sentiment.

Internet sales volumes also continued their decline against last year, although this slowed down slightly against the level reported in March.

Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said: “Retail sales were below seasonal norms in April as consumer spending continued to shift back towards services and rising prices impacted households’ spending power.

“Rapid inflation means that the cost-of-living crisis is going nowhere soon.

“To combat these challenges, the Government will need to keep a close eye on support for vulnerable households and businesses struggling with higher energy prices.

“Meanwhile, going for growth must continue to be the government’s primary domestic focus, as increasing productivity growth is the only sustainable route to raise living standards.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in