UK retail sales up for third successive month in October as clothing surges ahead

UK retail sales rose again in October, posting above-average growth for the third month in succession and with the three-month average sales growth at its highest level since 2011, figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) show. The good news is set to continue with more positive news expected next month too, but the figures for the October show the CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey at a balance of +31%, with 48% of retailers saying sales grew compared to 17% who said they fell.

Clothing did particularly well with 86% of retailers noting a sales rise, while 33% of grocers said sales were up and 72% of furniture and carpet retailers did the same. Other sectors, including chemists, specialist food & drink and hardware & DIY, saw sales falls, however.

The three-month moving average of sales growth was at +33%, its highest level since February 2011, while a balance of +31% of retailers are expecting further sales growth next month.

The CBI also said that wholesale sales grew “robustly” with more growth expected next month as well.

“Sales on our high streets are still ticking along and, with similar prospects next month, retail growth is looking more stable,” said CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith. “The clothing sector in particular appears to be bouncing back after the mild weather in September deterred people from buying their winter warmers.

“The recent fall in inflation may help lift the spirits of households by making their budgets stretch further. But risks remain to the UK recovery more generally, with the eurozone stalling, conflict in the Middle East and tensions over Ukraine. This could have an impact on consumer confidence and spending going forward.”

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