Published on 26 - August - 2011
Hardware and DIY sales poor for third consecutive month, says CBIRetail sales volumes fell year-on-year in August at the fastest pace in more than a year, according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey.
31% of retailers saw sales volumes rise in the two weeks to August 16, while 46% said they fell, resulting in a balance of -14%, the most negative since May 2010 (-18%).
There was a mixed picture across the retail sectors, with a balance of 11% of grocers reporting a modest increase in sales, while hardware and DIY performed badly for the third month running (-50%).
The volume of orders placed with suppliers also fell (-22%) at the fastest pace since May last year, and orders are expected to fall again next month.
Looking ahead, retailers say they expect sales volumes to fall again in the year to September, but at a slightly slower pace, with 27% expecting a rise and 35% expecting a fall.
According to the survey, retailers are also scaling back investment plans over the next 12 months.
CBI Distributive Trades Panel chair and Asda coo Judith McKenna said: "As expected, August was a tough month on the high street. Sales volumes fell at a pace not seen in over a year, as consumers have continued to see their real incomes squeezed by a combination of inflation and weak wage growth.
"This survey suggests that prices will rise more slowly in the coming months, and savvy retailers will continue to offer consumers the lowest prices possible, but with energy and commodity costs still high, families' spending power looks like being constrained for some time."
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