Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

High street figures defy the odds with continued growth

High street sales have continued to grow in recent weeks, defying predictions of a slowdown in the wake of the royal wedding and Easter bank holidays, figures have revealed.

A balance of 18% of retailers reported that sales volumes increased in the first two weeks of May, compared with the same period the previous year, according to the CBI.

This contrasted with the balance of 1% that previously forecast sales would decline in the period, after a 21% increase the previous month as the shopping spree caused by the royal wedding and bank holidays came to an end.

Although sales figures were better than expected, the CBI warned that growth on the high street is likely to remain slow as household budgets are persistently squeezed, with wages failing to keep pace with rising prices.

A balance of 14% of retailers expect sales volumes to rise next month, roughly in line with a subdued level of growth seen in the high street so far in 2011.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said: "Given these challenging consumer conditions, it is good news that retail sales growth is stable, not falling.

But he added: "High street sales growth is subdued and is likely to remain sluggish for some time."

In the most recent period, grocery and footwear performed well, but the reading for sales of furniture and carpets was negative for the first time in almost a year.

Inflation remained high, with a balance of 63% of retailers saying that prices were up on a year ago, and 62% expect more price hikes next month.

Judith McKenna, Asda chief financial officer and chairman of the CBI distributive trades panel, said: "Family spending power is at a very low level, and with the continuing bite of rising utilities and fuel, we are not likely to see an improvement any time soon."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Comment

More

Company Profiles

More

Help & Advice

More

People on the move

More