July retail sales growth slows down, but still strong, at 23%

UK retail sales strong in July but stock levels slide
Sales are now expected to rise at a faster pace next month, according to the CBI, but orders are likely to slow down.
// CBI says retail sales volumes grew 23% in July, a slight slowdown on the 25% growth recorded in June
// Figures for July were still ahead of expectations
// Stock levels also slump to a new record low

UK retailers have reported another strong month of sales growth but saw stock levels slump to a new record low, according to fresh data.

The latest retail sales research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said figures for July were ahead of expectations as they showed a marginal slowdown from June, which had seen the fastest rise since 2018.

It revealed a 23 per cent rise in retail sales volumes for July, having recorded a 25 per cent improvement in the previous month.


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CBI principal economist Ben Smith said the latest figures showed that “consumer demand continues to support the UK’s economic recovery”.

Sales are now expected to rise at a faster pace next month, according to the CBI, but orders are likely to slow down.

For July, companies reported the fastest growth in orders for more than a decade, amid 49 per cent year-on-year growth for the month.

The CBI survey of 124 firms also found that stock levels in relation to expected sales across the distribution sector reached a survey record low in July, for the second consecutive month.

The retail, wholesale and motor trades sectors all reported relative stocks as too low, with the situation expected to deteriorate further in August, the CBI added.

“Retail sales have been at or above seasonal norms for the last four months now, although this picture is not universal, with the clothing and footwear stores in particular yet to see demand recover to usual levels,” Smith said.

“While demand may be more stable, operational issues worsen.

“Relative stock levels are at a record low and expected to fall further still, while the number one worry for many firms at the minute is labour shortages throughout the supply chain as staff self-isolate.”

with PA Wires

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