Retail sales growth ‘lower than expected’

Poor performance
Poor performance

Retail sales growth has fallen short of expectations in the crucial run-up to Christmas, while the outlook next month is expected to be weak, a report said.

The latest retail distributive trades survey from the CBI said 43 per cent of retailers reported sales volumes up in December compared with a year ago, while 24 per cent said sales were down, giving a balance of plus 19.

This is an increase on November’s plus seven reading, but falls short of expectations of plus 31.

The amount of firms who thought that January sales would be better than last year came in at a reading of plus nine, the lowest since May 2012.

Following Black Friday at the end of November, internet sales volumes have risen at their quickest pace since April, with the pace of growth expected to hold broadly steady in January.

Supermarkets saw solid growth in the run-up to Christmas, rebounding from November’s lowest survey balance since May 2012.

This sector has seen prices fall for more that a year, as major supermarkets battle for market share against discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.