Growth in retail sales slowed unexpectedly in May, as shoppers stayed away from department stores and a slower rise in food sales dragged the sector down, according to the latest snapshot from the CBI.
Job creation in retail came to standstill, internet sales rose at the slowest pace in almost a year and investment plans weakened, the business lobby group said.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said consumers were probably less willing to spend after splashing out over Easter, which fell in April this year.
Despite the dip in performance in May, retailers were feeling more optimistic about sales prospects in the month ahead, with a slight pickup in employment also expected.
Barry Williams, chairman of the CBI’s distributive trades survey panel and Asda’s chief merchandising officer for food, said: “Retailers’ predictions of further sales growth bore fruit this month. Although that growth was at a slower rate than expected, the fact we’ve seen a steady increase for six consecutive months is a sign we’re heading towards sustainable growth and strengthening consumer optimism – and it’s good to hear shopkeepers telling us they expect even stronger figures next month.”
According to the CBI survey, 38% of retailers reported a rise in sales volumes in May compared with a year ago, while 22% said they were down. The resulting balance of +16% was lower than April’s +30%, and much weaker than the +35% predicted by economists.
via The Guardian