Retail sales rise at fastest rate in 20 months


Retail sales have risen at the fastest pace since June 2012, according to the CBI‘s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

Sales volumes among grocers, clothing and furniture and carpet retailers were strong but specialist food and drink recorded a sales fall for the second month in a row.

The CBI distributive trades survey‘s sales balance rose to +37, its highest level since June 2012, from +14 in January. Analysts had forecast a rise of +15.

Expected sales balance for March was +28, rising from +15 the previous month.

The CBI said retailers of furniture and carpets saw sales grow at their strongest pace (+88 per cent) since September 2013, while internet sales remained robust in the year to February although they are expected to slow next month.

“The high streets have kicked on once again this month, with growth the strongest since the summer of 2012. There is growth across many sectors, including grocers and clothing outlets, while investment intentions are at their highest for more than three years,” said Barry Williams, Asda Chief Merchandising Officer for Food. “Although we are by no means seeing a universally confident shopper, the positive indicators have perhaps given some people the urge to spend.”

Retail sales fell sharply in January according to official figures.