UK: Clothing retail sales growth accelerates in February
Sales growth at UK clothing retailers during February was at its highest level since October 2010 according to figures released today by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
A balance of 91% of clothing retailers saw growth in retail sales volumes during the month. However, shops selling footwear and leather saw the fourth month of falling sales (-4%).
Overall growth in sales on the high street continued to slow, results from the business organisation's latest Distributive Trades Survey showed.
A balance of 8% of retailers saw growth, the lowest figure since September 2012, and the third consecutive month where the pace of growth slowed.
The volume of orders fell sharply (-9%) against expectations they would remain flat (0%), perhaps in part reflecting the loss of momentum in volumes of sales (expectations had been +13%).
"We all know trading is tough, and the bad weather hasn't exactly been encouraging shoppers to hit the high street lately. But there is a glimmer of hope for retailers with the news that sales are growing, even if at a slower pace than in recent months," said Barry Williams, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, and Asda chief merchandising officer for food.
"Clearly, the road to recovery remains fragile. Worries about the economy, pay freezes and the rising cost of living will mean shoppers remain cautious for the foreseeable future."
Looking ahead, retailers expect both the volume of sales (+9%) and volume of orders placed upon suppliers (-19%) to see little change in March from this month's results.
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