UK Retail Sales Increase Following 10 Months Of Decline

Retail sales (Credits: The Economic Times)

British retail has seen a slight uptick this month, marking a break from a 10-month streak of declines, mirroring last week’s official statistics. However, the retail industry anticipates a drop in sales volumes for April.

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly retail sales index, which measures sales changes over the year to March, improved from a -7 in February to a +2 in March. Despite this brief uplift, retailers are bracing for a downturn in April, with expectations set at -25.

Martin Sartorius, a senior economist at CBI, commented on these findings, suggesting that March’s stabilization in retail sales might indicate the sector’s recent struggles are over.

Shopping complex (Credits: ET Retail)

He mentioned that the early Easter might result in weaker sales than last year in April but anticipated that decreasing inflation rates should help boost retail spending moving forward.

Official data from last week confirmed that British retail sales remained stable in February, contrary to predictions of a decline. This stability aligns with other economic indicators, like the GfK consumer confidence index, which showed steady household optimism.

UK Currency (Credits: Business Recorder)

Inflation has started to ease, dropping to 3.4% in February, and there’s an expectation that interest rates might decrease from their highest point in 16 years, 5.25%, sometime within the year.

According to the CBI survey, which doesn’t adjust for seasonal changes, retailers have reduced their orders from suppliers this month and plan to continue this trend in April. This survey included feedback from 72 UK retailers, providing a snapshot of the current retail landscape in Britain.