Grocery sales in the UK were flat in May after a strong Easter-driven April, according to a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI’s latest Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey has said that trading conditions for the retail sector are affecting investment and hiring from companies. The survey shows that employment has dropped for the second quarter running, and estimates that it is set to fall again in June.
Investment has also shown no improvement, and much like employment it is suggested to fall again next quarter.
Alpesh Paleja, CBI Principal Economist, said “Retail sales flattened out this month as the bounce in April unwound. It’s clear that households are increasingly feeling the pinch, as rising inflation pushes down on real earnings.
"Taken together with higher import cost pressures from a weaker pound, this is creating a challenging environment for retailers.”
Some of the key findings from the report revealed that the volume of orders placed upon suppliers fell over the year to May, with a decrease of 11%. It is also expected that a similar fall will happen next month (8%).
Investment intentions for the next year compared to the previous twelve months were down 9% for the second consecutive quarter.
Internet sales volumes have also slowed in terms of year-on-year growth. It is up 31% from 48% in May. While growth is expected to accelerate, it will only reach as far as 36%, which is far below the long-run average of 58%.
UK retail sales rose 6.3% in April against flat growth in 2016. This positive growth was the highest seen in the UK since 2011.
The growth was mainly due to a surge in food sales, which was presumably thanks to the Easter holidays fallen in the middle of April.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.