Retail sales values down

Retail Sales Monitor, Oct 2012: BRC

  • UK retail sales values were down 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2011, when they were down 0.6% on the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales were up 1.1%, against a 1.5% rise in October 2011.
  • Excluding Easter, this was the lowest growth in total sales since November 2011.

So how well is the Work Programme doing?

Labour Market Outlook: CIPD

  • Around half (51%) of the 1,004 employers that responded to the survey are aware of the Government’s Work Programme, with awareness highest in the wholesale and retail trade sector (57%).
  • However, while awareness of the Work Programme is mixed, only 7% of employers reported that they had taken part more than a year after its introduction. Employers in the north of England are three times more likely to have participated
  • The proportion of employers (11%) participating in the Work Programme look set to increase in the next three years
  • The majority (79%) of employers that have used the Work Programme say recruits met or exceeded their expectations and more than half (58%) said candidates were better prepared for interviews and demonstrated better presentation skills as a result of the programme
  • Amongst those employers that have recruited via the Work Programme, only half plan to hold on to the new hires for longer than six months and 48% felt that participants lack certain job-specific or technical skills

CBI SME Trends Survey

CBI’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey

  • Both domestic and export orders among the UK’s small and medium-sized manufacturers fell in the three months to October.
  • Production levels continued to contract modestly, while business sentiment deteriorated for the second consecutive quarter.
  • Prospects for the coming quarter are somewhat better, with output expected to increase slightly and new orders expected to level off.

Business confidence

QCA/BDO Small & Mid-Cap Sentiment Index

  • Small and mid-cap companies are stuck in a holding pattern that is preventing growth in the sector, despite demonstrating improved confidence over the last quarter.
  • While those firms’ optimism about their own prospects has increased to 60.6 from 58.0, this has not translated into greater intentions to hire, nor improved turnover expectations that equate to growth plans