May saw the steepest fall in UK retail sales for 16 months, new data released today revealed.
According to the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the CBI, retail sales activity “has weakened persistently during 2013”, with grocery sales remaining broadly flat over the month while sales of clothing & footwear also declined.
Clothing sales plummeted 21 per cent while specialist food & drink saw a significant 45 per cent drop, though furniture & carpet sales rose as recreational goods sales also increased.
Overall sales volumes were below average for this time of year, the CBI warned, while orders fell ay their fastest rate since November 2011.
Nonetheless, retailers anticipate an improvement in trading conditions in the weeks ahead, expecting sales to “rise modestly” in June ahead of an improvement of the broader business situation over the next quarter.
“Retail sales growth has weakened since the start of the year as households continue to feel the pinch, with wages failing to keep pace with the cost of living,” explained Asda Chief Merchandising Officer for Food and Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel Barry Williams.
“There is positivity from retailers this month, however, with sales expected to rise in the coming months.”