Retail sector sees stabilityThursday, 01 October 2009
Volumes of orders placed with suppliers fell very modestly (a balance of -4%), the slowest rate since February 2008. They are expected to stabilise next month (+1%).The three-month moving average of sales volumes, which smooths out monthly peaks and troughs, improved on the previous month, a balance of -9%, compared with -16% in August.However, despite sales volumes stabilising, a net 22% of firms described them as below average for the time of year.
Andy Clarke, Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, and Chief Operating Officer of Asda, said:“After such a difficult summer, it is encouraging to see signs that conditions in the retail sector are stabilising. However, with unemployment rising, wage growth low, and consumers building up their savings, spending is likely to remain subdued for some time. “Shoe shops are continuing to enjoy solid growth and the months running up to Christmas may see some shoppers bring forward spending to beat the planned VAT rise.
“After months of heavy de-stocking, retailers may now be starting to think about getting new products on the shelves.” Inventory levels remain low, with a net 3% of retailers reporting volumes of stocks to be slightly more than adequate to meet expected demand, compared with a zero balance in August.
After 11 months of falling sales, volumes in the wholesale sector were broadly flat in the year to September (a balance of -1%), compared with -48% in August. Cllothing, textiles & footwear enjoyed some of the strongest growth.
Image: Retail shopping