Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

DIY and hardware retail sales dip in April, but wholesalers flourish

Published: 30 April 2012
The balance of sales volumes for DIY and hardware retailers has dipped to -45% after holding steady in March, according to the latest distributive trades survey by the CBI.
The balance is the difference between those reporting a year-on-year sales increase and those who have seen a slump, and while the latest results show a negative slide for the sector, it's still an increase on the Feburary figures of -90%.

Furniture and carpet retailers saw a continued run of good sales growth at +72%, marking the third consecutive month of positive balance.

Overall retail for April showed a balance of -6%, marking a slight decline but keeping in line with expectations. Sales volumes are expected to rise next month, with the projected balance at +19%, the highest since February 2011.

Meanwhile, 54% more wholesalers selling building material saw an increase in sales during April that those who did not, while the balance for durable household goods wholesales was +20%, an increase of 45% since March.

Wholesalers falling into the 'other goods' catgory fared even better, with 82% more sales boosts than drops. The projected outlook for wholesale is not so positive, however, with sales expected to fall across the sector in the year to May by -9%.

CBI distributive trades panel chair and Asda boss Judith McKenna said: "The situation on our high streets remains fragile. Consumers are still holding off from buying bigger ticket items, and opting to spend on smaller 'treat' purchases that give them a lift without breaking the budget.

"If as expected, inflation falls further later this year, we may see some growth in retail sales, but as long as high unemployment and sluggish wage growth dampen confidence, spending will remain tight."

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