// Retail sales fell flat in January, according to the CBI
// Britain’s high street will brace itself for “another tough year for the sector”
// Sales predicted to remain below seasonal norms for the year to February
Retail sales fell flat in January as high street retailers suffered a bruising start to 2019, according to new figures.
The CBI’s monthly distributive trends survey showed that retailers saw sales volumes flatline for the third month in a row.
It said Britain’s high street will brace itself for “another tough year for the sector”, as it predicted sales would remain flat through February.
- The health of UK retail was at an all-time low in 2019 (Ipsos/KPMG)
- 2019 was UK retail’s worst year ever (BRC/KPMG)
The CBI said sales were “poor for the time of year”, predicting they will remain below seasonal norms for the year to February.
“Both official data and business surveys are painting a picture of subdued activity for retailers,” CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said.
“A challenging Christmas has extended into the New Year, with little expectation of any improvement soon.”
Department store sales were particularly good during the month, but were offset by weaker performances by DIY retailers and furniture shops.
The survey data also revealed that orders placed with suppliers fell as retailers maintained high levels of stock.
Stagnating retail sales will add to the uncertainties of the wider economy, ahead of Mark Carney’s final monetary policy committee as governor of the Bank of England on Thursday.
The CBI also called on the Chancellor to stimulate the retail sector by overhauling the current business rates system.
with PA Wires