// Retail sales were up by only 4% after shops reopened, the CBI says
// Grocery, hardware and DIY sales were up, but fashion and department stores continued to feel the pinch
Retail sales returned to anaemic growth in the year to July as shoppers made their way back into shops, but there is still a long way to go before normality returns, new figures show.
Sales were up by four per cent, according to a closely-watched survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
It came mainly as grocery sales grew, up by around a third in the year to July.
- Consumer confidence remains unchanged a month after lockdown exit
- Retail sales return to pre-Covid levels
- The general health of UK retail is at all-time low
Sales of hardware and DIY products were also up, while cards, flowers and stationery sales returned to growth.
However, the high street fashion industry is still feeling the pinch.
Clothing, footwear and department stores continued to report big falls, although slightly less stark than in recent months.
The survey was gathered between June 26 and July 15 and 133 businesses responded.
Just under half of these were retailers, 55 were wholesalers and 16 were motor traders, the CBI said.
“It’s great to see retail sales stabilise this month, but this doesn’t tell the whole story,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.
“This crisis has created winners and losers within the retail sector, and for some businesses the picture remains bleak.
“The reopening of non-essential retail was a vital step towards recovery but isn’t a cure-all.
“The government has provided critical support for firms and jobs throughout the crisis.
“But ongoing financial pressures are a major challenge for some retailers, and additional direct support to shore up cash flow, such as extension of business rates relief, should be considered.”
with PA Wires