CBI survey says November retail sales are good for the time of year

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UK retail sales in November were good for the time of year, according to the latest Survey on distribution professions by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The study, released Thursday and emailed to Capital.com, also pointed out that retail sales are expected to stay above seasonal norms next month.

“Retailers said their November sales were just as strong for the time of year (+ 35% balance vs. -1% last month). Sales are expected to stay above seasonal norms to roughly a similar extent next month (+ 32%), ”the CBI said.

“Year-over-year retail sales growth has grown at a faster pace than last month (+ 39% vs. + 30%) and is expected to accelerate again through December (+ 56% ).

“Year-on-year internet sales fell for the first time in the survey’s history (-14% vs. + 7% last month; a question first asked in August 2001) but are expected to revive growth next month (+ 17%), ”adds the survey.

Order growth

At the same time, growth in supplier orders slowed in the year ending November, but remained well above the long-term average.

“The growth of orders slowed until November (+ 30% against + 48%; the average is + 8%), but should resume next month (+ 45%)”, indicates the survey.

Inventory levels relative to expected sales were considered broadly adequate in November, for the first time since April, after hitting a series of all-time lows in the previous six months, the survey also revealed.

In addition, retail prices have increased at the fastest rate since May 1990 and are expected to increase at a broadly similar rate next month.

Employment on the rise

Total employment increased during the year through November, the first time retailer headcount has increased since November 2016, with a similar rate of growth expected next month.

Regarding investment intentions for the coming year, the survey indicates that they increased sharply for the third consecutive quarter, although at a slightly slower pace than last quarter.

“General optimism about the business situation also continued to increase, with the rest of the retailers expecting conditions to improve in the next quarter,” CBI said.

Economic vision of the CBI

Ben Jones, chief economist of CBI, commented on the results.

“Christmas appears to have arrived early for retailers, apparel and department stores in particular seeing a sharp increase in sales volumes in November,” he said.

“It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions have prompted consumers to start Christmas shopping earlier. And there are encouraging signs that efforts by retailers to avoid any festive disappointment may pay off, with inventory levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.

“Overall, retailers are becoming more optimistic, with job growth and investment intentions rising sharply. Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, with selling prices increasing at the fastest rate since 1990, ”he added.

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