Retail sales in August grew at the fastest pace since November last year and exceeded expectations, according to the CBI.
Out of 125 retailers polled for the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, 49% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 22% said they were down, giving a positive balance of 27%. This beat expectations of over 10%.
Some 24% of retailers said that sales volumes were above average for the time of year, while 14% said they were below average, giving a positive balance of 10%, the highest survey balance since December 2010.
Retailers expect the purple patch to continue with a positive balance of 26% forecasting growth at a similar pace next month.
Clothing sales volumes grew at their strongest pace since February with a positive balance of 76% experiencing growth.
Asda chief merchandising officer for food and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel Barry Williams said: “The feel-good factor from the heatwave, summer sales, royal baby fever and sporting victories has helped boost the high street, with clothing retailers and grocers benefiting in particular.
“A rise in spending is welcome news, but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve further.
Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe added: “Today’s figures draw a successful close to a good summer for the high street, with sales of clothes and food in particular up. As retailers look towards the cooler months ahead, they will be hoping these positive trends continue.”