Published on 26 - September - 2012
Retail up in September, but DIY sector remains depressedA third more DIY retailers reported sales volumes were down during the first two weeks of September than those reporting positive results, according to the latest distributive trades survey from the CBI.
It was good news for the high street in September, but not so great for DIY retailers...
Overall, 33% of retailers reported sales volumes were up on a year ago, with 27% stating sales had fallen, resulting in a balance of +6%, in line with expectations and an improvement on last month's result of -3%. Looking ahead, 15% more retailers said they expected faster sales growth in the year to October.
For furniture and carpets the balance was +4%, meaning 4% more retailers reported positive sales volumes than those reporting negative. While a positive comparison to DIY retail's -33% balance, this was drastically down on August's +58% for furniture and carpets.
Compared with previous months, the picture for DIY retailers was not so bleak, particularly July when 100% of DIY respondents reporting a year-on-year volume decline.
In terms of wholesale, building materials was down significantly at -34% compared with last month's +31%, but durable household good saw a positive increase, with 30% more reporting increased sales volume on last year.
While the volume of orders placed on overall retail suppliers was broadly flat (+2%), this was still a marked improvement from last month's year-on-year fall (-11%) and beat expectations of another decline (-8%).
Stock levels also fell back relative to expected demand (+4%), and are now at their lowest since September 2009 (+3%).
Nonetheless, for the fifth consecutive month, high street retailers considered the volume of sales to be significantly below average for the time of year (-22%), and to a greater extent than expected (-15%).
CBI chair of the distributive trades panel and Asda COO Judith McKenna said: "It is encouraging that sales on the high street have seen a slight rise in the year to September, and that retailers expect growth to pick up further next month.
"However, while the squeeze on family budgets may have eased in the short term thanks to the fall in inflation, on-going economic fragility, reflecting uncertainty around the international outlook, could affect household spending later in the year."
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