It appears to be good news for many high-street retailers, at least according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI have reported that retail sales have continued to grow for a third consecutive month, compared with a year earlier. The CBI expect to see a further increase in high-street retail sales in May.
The Distributive Trades Survey, undertaken by the CBI, reported that 43% of retailers stated that sales volumes were higher than in the same period last year. However, 30% reported lower figures, resulting in a balance of +13%, which matched that in March and was in-line with industry expectations. Overall 17% of retailers anticipate year-on-year growth throughout 2010.
Further figures from the CBI:
• Net 11% of shop owners reported sales as poor for the time of year, however, they are expected to be more broadly in-line with seasonal trends in May (+3%).
• Little change in volume of orders made to suppliers (+1%), however, 8% of firms expect to see orders grow over next month.
• Net 6% of shop owners reported that stock levels were adequate to cover the expected level
of demand. Next month, stocks are expected to be broadly in-line with predicted sales.
The report also suggests that amongst the retail sectors, grocers, footwear and leather shops and durable household goods retailers saw the strongest annual growth. In comparison clothing, furniture and carpet retailers experienced a much slower pace of growth.
The Chief Operating Officer at Asda, and the Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, Andy Clarke, commented:
“Spring has landed on the high street with some modest but welcome sales growth, and that improvement is expected to carry on into early May.
“Grocers and shoe shops fared reasonably well in April, and the lift in the housing market seems to have fed through to sales of white goods and furniture.”
Despite this promising growth, Mr Clarke cautioned retailers that the UK economy remains fragile and the higher unemployment figures released last week may have unsettled many consumers.