CBI says retail sales bounced back in October

Ben Southwood
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UK RETAILERS reported a rapidly improving sales climate in October, according to data out yesterday, driving hopes for continued expansion.

Thirty percentage points more retailers saw improving than worsening sales in October, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), up from a net balance of six per cent in September and well above firm expectations which summed to 15 per cent. A net balance of 27 per cent of firms expect increasing sales volumes in November.

“It is great news that last month’s sales growth has continued into October,” said Anna Leach at the CBI.

But other data in the release suggested this rise might be mainly down to seasonal movements. Seven percentage points more respondent firms said sales volumes were down for the time of year, than said they were up. Still, these sales were much better – even seasonally – than September, when the net balance was minus 22 per cent.

Consumer confidence data from Gfk supported the more pessimistic approach to the data. Gfk’s index slid two points to hit minus 30 in October, putting the index only just above the place it was in October last year.

Trend data from Conlumino, also out yesterday, highlighted the damage the recession did to the retail market. The total UK home retail market slumped by £9bn between 2008 and 2011, Conlumino said, blaming double figure declines in furniture and electricals on a stagnant home market.