Retail sales up, with DIY top, as end to Indian summer approaches

Retailers reported the strongest pace of growth since September 2015 over the year to October, with sales expected to expand at similar pace next month, according to the latest CBI monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 126 firms, of which 60 were retailers, showed that sales for the time of year were considered to be above average and are expected to be in line with seasonal norms in November.

Some 40 per cent of retailers said sales were up while 19 per cent said they were down. There were 38 per cent who expected sales to increase in November, with 18 per cent expecting them to fall.

The volume of orders placed upon suppliers was broadly flat in October, having declined steadily during the previous six months, but orders are expected to fall further year-on-year in November.

The rise in overall sales volumes was driven by retailers of clothing, furniture & carpets, and hardware & DIY, while sales by grocers and department stores were flat. Hardware and DIY sales growth was 45 per cent.

Garden centres have reported a strong September and October, though the Met Office is forecasting an end to the Indian summer next week.

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said: "With our Indian Summer now a distant memory, shoppers have been pounding the high street, with sales of clothing and other retailers outpacing expectations.

"With employment still rising and the unemployment rate at an 11-year low, household spending still has some momentum in the short-term, but we do expect the fall in the value of the pound to push up prices through the course of next year, hitting people’s purchasing power."

Some 57 per cent of wholesalers reported sales volumes were up on last year.

Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium has found retail employement rates have fallen. The equivalent number of full time jobs fell by 3.0 per cent compared with the same quarter a year ago. While Food and Non-Food retailers reported a decline in FTE employment, it was Food that saw the

In the third quarter of 2016, the number of outlets fell by 1.2 per cent compared with the same quarter a year ago.

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