British retail sales boosted by Jubilee celebrations, CBI reports

Queen's jubilee

British retailers have reported strong growth in sales and orders, benefiting from extra spending for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, according to a report released today by business organisation the CBI.

The CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey, which covers the first two weeks of June, shows that 58% of retailers reported higher sales volumes than a year ago, while 17% stated that sales had fallen.

This results in a rounded balance of +42%, a clear increase from +21% in May. The growth was stronger than retailers had expected and is the fastest growth recorded since December 2010.

“The Jubilee provided a much-needed boost to our high streets with many families and communities making the most of the Bank Holiday and coming together to celebrate,” commented Judith McKenna, chair of the survey panel and Asda’s chief operating officer.

She also noted, however, that sales were still considered below the levels expected for the time of year, with consumer spending across the whole retail sector being held back by low consumer confidence and uncertainty over the economic outlook.

A total of 118 firms took part in this month’s Distributive Trades Survey, of which 61 were retailers, 41 were wh?olesalers and 16 were motor traders.

Among wholesalers, 33% reported a rise in the volume of sales, while 32% saw a fall. This follows consistent sales growth since December 2011. Motor traders registered a third consecutive fall in their volume of sales (-5%), but expect growth in the coming month (+38%).

Firms generally reported better than expected growth in orders, with the survey balance for this metric, +23%, being the highest since December 2010.

Retailers expect to report strong increases in both sales and order volumes in the year to July, but at a slower pace of growth than this month.

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