A fall in demand for clothing dragged down retail sales growth in June, although the pace is expected to pick up next month, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI Distributive Trades Survey revealed that 29% of retailers reported a rise in sales volumes in June compared to a year ago, whilst 24% said they were down, giving a rounded balance of +4%. This was below expectations (+29%).
The CBI said clothing was “the main drag” on the slowing of sales growth, with the category falling for the first time since January. Annual sales growth in grocery fell for the second consecutive month. Specialist food and drink sales edged up slightly in the year to June.
Online sales volumes performed well, but “remained below the long-run average for a second consecutive month”.
Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel and Asda senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for food Barry Williams said: “After a recent improved run for the high street, a fall in clothing and food sales has contributed to a disappointing month. Whilst it seems that hopes that retail spending would be boosted by a strong performance by England at the World Cup were as over ambitious as aspirations for a good performance, I’m reassured that consumer confidence is still on the up, as household budgets are being bolstered by falling inflation.”
He added: “However, whilst discretionary income is still on the rise, slow wage growth continues to weigh on how much consumers are willing to go out and spend.”
Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe said: “While retail sales were slower than expected, it’s important to remember that we are still seeing year on year growth. Brits remain hopeful for a sunny summer, with many optimistically investing in barbeques and garden furniture in anticipation. I expect to see low levels of growth continue over the next few months, with online channels giving a sparkling performance, as encouraging economic signs continue to lift consumer confidence.”