February UK retail slows, fashion weak, says CBI survey
Fashion retailers and department stores have had a tough time so far in February with the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) sales poll showing weak turnover at physical stores, even though online continued to rise strongly.
The CBI’s report is often subject to revision but as it’s the earliest monthly overview to be released, it’s also a useful tool to see just how sales are going.
And it seems that growth has slowed for the third month in a row on the back of household budgets that remain squeezed. Overall, 8% more retailers said that sales volumes rose than fell. But that was down from 12% in January and expectations of a 13% difference.
And, as mentioned, key categories for the fashion sector were among the worst performers. In fact, the CBI reported falling sales volumes in department stores (-45%), at clothing retailers (where a -77% reading was really bad news), in furniture & carpets (-36%) and footwear & leather (-57%).
This correlates to BDO High Street Tracker weekly figures that are also currently showing weakness both in clotting and footwear sales in Britain.
So did the CBI report have any good news? Well, year-on-year growth in internet sales volumes was reported at 45%, but even here this eased slightly from January’s 55% rise.
Additionally, more retailers think sales volumes will recover next month (+21%).
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