Retail sales 'disappointing'

Retail sales growth failed to meet expectations in the year to June 2014, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The survey of 133 firms found that although sales rose above average for the time of year, retailers were still disappointed with the level of growth.

Firms reported that clothing was the biggest contributor to the slowdown, with sales falling for the first time since January 2014.

The motor trades and wholesale sectors were among the best performing industries while internet sales volumes continued to rise.

Key findings:

  • 29% of retailers said sales volumes were in up in the year to June 2014 while 24% said they were down
  • 45% of wholesalers said sales were up on last year and 22% said they were down 
  • 27% of retailers predict sales volumes to rise in the next month, while 10% expect them to fall
  • 26% of retailers ordered more goods from suppliers than they did a year ago, while 19% placed fewer orders
  • 19% of retailers reported sales volumes above average for the time of year and 11% said they were below average.

Barry Williams, chair of the CBI distributive trades survey panel, said:

"After a recent improved run for the High Street, a fall in clothing and food sales has contributed to a disappointing month.

"Whilst it seems that hopes that retail spending would be boosted by a strong performance by England at the World Cup were as over ambitious as aspirations for a good performance, I'm reassured that consumer confidence is still on the up, as household budgets are being bolstered by falling inflation.

"However, whilst discretionary income is still on the rise, slow wage growth continues to weigh on how much consumers are willing to go out and spend."