Retailers eye Christmas boost as sales strengthen

The volume of sales on the high street was higher in November than a year ago, for the fifth consecutive month, as shoppers started gearing up for Christmas.

Retailers eye Christmas boost as sales strengthen

November was the fifth consecutive month in which the volume of high street sales was higher than in the same month last year.

As shoppers start gearing up for Christmas, the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades survey reveals that 55% of retailers saw the volume of sales rise in the two weeks to November 10, while for 13% they fell. The resulting rounded balance of +43% is an improvement on October’s balance of +36%. A net 6% of retailers said sales in November were below average for the time of year.

Sales grew most strongly in November for grocers and clothing retailers.

The three-monthly moving average of sales volumes, which smoothes out monthly peaks and troughs, edged higher to a balance of +43%.

Looking ahead to the crucial pre-Christmas period, retailers expect strong sales volume growth to continue in December (+45%), and a net 11% expect the overall business situation to improve over the next three months.

However, the CBI believes that consumers could rein in spending after Christmas, with the VAT rise, weak wage growth and high inflation eating into household incomes.

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