Retailers’ confidence for future sales at highest in three years

RETAILERS are bullish about the months ahead, according to a survey which shows the strongest expectations for growth in nearly three and a half years.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows that 48 per cent of retail firms responding to their poll believe that sales volumes will grow during May, while only five per cent now believe they will record a decline.

Similarly, 42 per cent say sales volumes have risen during the last year, while only 12 per cent say they are now recording lower sales.

Internet retail sales were particularly strong, with a net balance of 62 per cent reporting an increase, the most in 18 months.

“This latest survey echoes the current drumbeat of positive economic news. The trick now is for this to become a consistent theme, and deliver much needed support to household spending and economic growth in the months ahead,” said Asda’s Barry Williams, chair of the CBI’s survey panel.

Markit’s latest household finance index, released this morning, also indicates that fewer people expect an interest rate hike in the next year, down to 41 per cent from 46 per cent in March.