// Retailers to accelerate investment plans this summer for anticipated sales rise
// Investment intentions for the coming year had risen at the fastest pace since February 1994
// Retail sales increased by 9.2% between March and April
Retailers are planning on heavily investing in their offerings this summer as they prepare for an expected rise in sales.
Investment intentions for the coming year had risen at the fastest pace since February 1994, according to a report by the CBI.
In its latest Distributive Trades Survey, the business organisation found that a net balance of 35 per cent of retailers said that they planned to invest in their operations, up from eight per cent in February.
The survey of 45 retailers was conducted between April 28 and May 17, after non-essential retailers first had reopened in England and Wales on April 12.
The findings suggest that retailers are dealing with a pent-up demand.
Retail sales rose by 9.2 per cent between March and April and are now 10.6 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.
The CBI said that retail sales were broadly in line with normal levels in May and were expected to remain close to seasonal norms next month.
A net balance of three per cent of retailers said that sales volumes were broadly average for the time of year, down from 16 per cent in April.
“The fact that sales were in line with seasonal norms is a definite improvement from earlier in the year, but this month’s survey was perhaps a touch disappointing after April’s stronger results,” CBI principal economist Ben Jones said.
“Some retailers have suggested the increase in demand after the initial reopening of non-essential retail in early April was either short-lived or less strong than expected.
“Non-store sales remain well above seasonal norms, suggesting that some consumers who migrated to online shopping during the pandemic have not fully shifted back to old habits.
“As the economy moves toward a new normal, it’s clear that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges for some retailers.”