The CBI’s first monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 2013 revealed that retail sales growth slowed in January.
Covering the opening fortnight of 2013, the survey shows 41 per cent of retailers reported increased year-on-year sales volumes and that 24 per cent reported a fall. Though better than the anticipated 10 per cent, the resulting balance of 17 per cent falls short of the 30 and 33 per cent growth in October and November last year respectively.
At one per cent, sales volumes were broadly in line with the average for the time of year for the first time since April 2012. Retailers expect sales to dip slightly below seasonal norms in February and are predicting year-on-year sales growth to slow slightly further.
Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and ASDA COO Judith McKenna said: “Despite mixed news from the high street over the last few weeks; strong sales growth in the grocery sector has added a touch of sparkle to overall retail sales.
“However, we are far from out of the woods. With tough trading conditions and subdued consumer spending adding to the uncertain economic picture, retailers will continue to face tough market conditions in the coming months.”
Retailers’ orders with suppliers were shown to have risen on the same time last year for a fifth consecutive month (15 per cent) but orders are expected to plateau in February (one per cent).