Year on year sales and orders at high street retailers were up for the third consecutive month in July, according to the CBI. However, the business body noted that "growth slowed to a greater extent than had been expected."
"The unprecedented poor weather for the time of year did not help," said Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda ceo, "but retailers also expect conditions to remain tough during August. With consumer confidence weak and wage growth remaining sluggish, the longer term outlook for retailers remains challenging."
In monthly Distributive Trades Survey, 44% of retailers said sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 33% reported a fall. The resulting balance of +11% was weaker than retailers had anticipated (+32%) for July.
Some +5% reported growth in orders, again a much slower pace than expected (+21%).
In August, retailers expect both sales and orders growth to moderate further, with both expected to be what the CBI describes as "effectively flat on a year ago" (sales +3%, orders -1%).