UK retail sales volumes in the year to September fell 20% following an increase of 37% in August, retailers expect sales volumes to decline at a slower rate of 13% in October; decline in retail activity due to higher cost-of-living: CBI

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LONDON , September 26, 2022 (press release) –

Retail sales volumes fell at a considerable pace in the year to September, following a temporary return to growth in August, according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey. Retailers expect sales volumes to continue to fall next month, but at a slower rate.

  • Retail sales volumes dipped at a brisk pace in the year to September (-20%), after having shown strong growth in August (+37%). Next month, retailers expect sales volumes to continue to fall, but a slower rate (-13%).
  • Retailers reported mildly disappointing sales for the time of year this month (-7% from +3% in August). Seasonal sales are expected to remain slightly poor in October (-4%).
  • Orders placed upon suppliers decreased in the year to September (-16% from +1% in August) and are expected to remain broadly unchanged in October (-2%).
  • Retailers’ stocks in relation to expected sales eased in September (+8% from +30% in August), but are projected to firm again next month (+24%).
  • Internet sales volumes declined at a faster pace in the year to September (-19%) compared to August (-7%). A slightly more moderate rate of decline is expected for October (-14%).
  • Elsewhere, wholesalers reported falling sales volumes in the year to September (-21% from -1% in August), with a similar rate of decline expected next month (-22%). Motor trade sales volumes fell at the quickest rate since June 2020 (-65% from -32% in August), and are expected to contract at a slightly faster pace next month (-69%).

Martin Sartorius, CBI Principal Economist, said:

“Following a brief return to growth last month, retail sales volumes have once again fallen in the year to September, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to weigh on households’ spending. Retailers remain pessimistic about the outlook, with sales expected to fall again next month.

“The Government’s announcements this week to support firms on energy costs and setting out their pro-growth agenda should help instil confidence. Businesses are ready to work hand-in-glove with the Government to create broad-based economic growth.”

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