Retail: 'Better weather' boosts August sales, says CBI
UK retailers posted their best performance for more than three years in August, scotching fears that the recovery in consumer spending is running out of steam.
High street chains expect the sales growth to continue next month and are "upbeat" about their prospects for the next three months ahead of Christmas trading.
Some 53 per cent of retailers said that sales volumes rose during the first two weeks of August, while 18 per cent said they fell, the CBI's quarterly Distributive Trades Survey revealed. While the net balance of 35 per cent reporting a sales rise was lower than the expected 45 per cent, it was the second consecutive month of growth and the fastest since April 2007. Retailers of clothing, food, household goods, footwear and leather, and hardware and DIY products enjoyed the strongest growth.
The CBI attributed the surge in these sectors to "better weather" in early August, the summer sales and the school holidays.
But Lai Wah Co, the CBI's head of economic analysis, said: "The broader outlook for consumer spending is still uncertain, given the VAT rise to 20 per cent next year, subdued pay awards and the feed-through of public spending cuts to job losses."