// UK retailers report strongest seasonal sales in four years
// Department stores sales were average during the period
New research has found that UK retailers have reported their strongest seasonal sales in four years.
In the period between May 26 and June 16, retailers reported their strongest seasonal sales since November 2016, according to the CBI’s monthly survey of 117 retail businesses.
Department stores sales were average during the period, although clothing stores reported that sales were below the average for this time of year.
“After a generally gloomy 2021 so far, the sun finally shone for retailers in June, with seasonal sales volumes the strongest since November 2016,” CBI principal economist, Ben Jones said.
“This was the latest sign that the success of the vaccination programme is feeding through to stronger consumer confidence which, along with the reopening of hospitality, is encouraging shoppers back onto the streets.
“But the sector remains a long way from a full recovery. The return of demand is patchy, with inner-city footfall still well down.
“The outlook is also clouded somewhat by supply pressures, with stocks seen as too low compared with expected sales, as logistical and capacity challenges continue to hamper global activity.
“Even as consumer demand returns, the legacy of lockdowns on retailers’ balance sheets remains. Many will welcome the rent moratorium extension, but more support is needed, starting with holding off on tapering existing business rate reliefs.”