Sales volumes at clothing chains increased in April

Sales volumes at clothing chains increased in April

Sales volumes at UK clothing retailers rebounded sharply in April, with in-store and online growth expected to accelerate even further next month.

CBI's latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey show April sales volumes at clothing retailers jumped, with a balance of +58% reporting year-on-year increases. This compares to a balance of -2% reporting declines in the year to March.

However, the footwear and leather sector saw sales fall, with a balance of -64% reporting a year-on-year declines, steeper than the -24% decline in the prior month.

Sales volumes for the retail sector as a whole increased, with 30% of respondents saying they were up on a year ago, and 18% saying they were down, giving a balance of +12%. This is down on the previous month (+18%) and below expectations (+21%).

CBI said the volume of sales for the time of year in April was considered to be broadly average, with 15% saying they were good for the time of year and 16% saying they were poor, giving a balance of -1%.

Internet sales volumes increased ahead of expectations (+55%), with 65% saying they were up and 10% saying they were down. And retailers expect sales growth to accelerate noticeably next month, with a balance of +40%.

"With the mixed news we’ve been seeing from the high street recently it’s perhaps not surprising that retailers have reported varied fortunes this month," said CBI DTS chairman Barry Williams.

"With shopping habits changing so dramatically in the last few years underlying consumer confidence is hard to read, but both retailers and wholesalers are optimistic there will be a spring in their customers’ steps, and therefore their sales, in the near future," he added.