Jubilee celebrations boost sales

UK retailers reported an increase in sales volumes and orders in June, a survey by Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found.

Although the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations had offered what the CBI called a 'much needed boost' to high streets, sales remain down on the levels expected for the time of year.

The CBI's latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey found that almost six out of ten businesses reported a rise in sales compared to a year ago, while only 17 per cent stated that sales had fallen. The resulting overall figure of +42 per cent was stronger than retailers and expected and was the strongest reading since December 2010.

Improvement in year-on-year sales was reported across most retail sectors, with grocers recording their highest balance (+85 per cent) since February 2010. Clothing and leather retailers also saw an increase in sales, which rose for the third consecutive month in a row.

Chair of the CBI's distributive trades panel Judith McKenna, said: "Retailers have continued to report strong growth in both their sales and orders. The Jubilee provided a much-needed boost to our high streets with many families and communities making the most of the Bank Holiday and coming together to celebrate.

"However, it is notable that sales were still considered to be below par for the time of year. Weak consumer confidence and uncertainty over the economic outlook are still putting a brake on consumer spending across the whole retail sector."

Firms are now expecting strong sales in both sales and order volumes in the year to July, although the pace of growth is expected to level out.