High street recovery has stalled this month after three months of growth as retailers expectations were disappointed in October, according to the CBI.
The latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 125 firms shows grocers were among the worst affected- taking a fall in sales volumes of 17 per cent.
There was strong growth in wholesale in line with expectations as 46 per cent of wholesalers said sales volumes were above average for the time of year.
Retail growth was flat, with 42 per cent reporting that sales volumes were up y-o-y, while 39 per cent said they were down – giving a rounded balance of +2 per cent, below expectations of 31 per cent.
Some sub-sectors of retail performed strongly such as footwear and leather (+37 per cent) and chemists (+67 per cent.)
Barry Williams, Asda Chief Merchandising Officer for Food, and Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, commented: “Retailers expect sales to pick up next month and are upping orders with their suppliers.”
Mr Williams added: “It’s also encouraging to see that signs are pointing towards increased consumer confidence - backed up by continuing growth in certain areas such as furniture and carpets; recreational goods; footwear and leather - all did particularly well in October.”
Jack Allen, Assistant Economist at Capital Economics said the fall in sales balance was probably just a blip. “This is the most volatile of the retail surveys, so we would not read too much into month-to-month changes,” he said. “And despite the monthly fall, the reported sales balance still points to annual growth in the official measure of retail sales volumes of about 1 per cent.”