High Street sales

High-street sales grow but still below average for the time of the year

  • Retail sales volumes rose strongly in May compared to a year ago but sales were still reported to be below average for the time of year. The majority of retail sectors saw sales increase.
  • 43% of retailers reported an increase in their volume of sales compared to a year ago, and 23% said they had seen a fall
  • The number of people employed in the retail sector increased on a year ago (+12%), for the first time since February 2003
  • Sentiment regarding the business situation for the next three months has also turned positive (+3%) for the first time since November 2011
  • Year-on-year price inflation in shops remained robust but still below the peak seen at the beginning of 2011
  • Retailers expect sales volumes to grow again on a year ago in June and the business situation to be stable over the next three months

SME optimism

CBI’s quarterly SME Trends Survey

  • A balance of +22% said they were more optimistic regarding the business situation in the three months to April. This figure represents the first rise in sentiment in a year (+12% in April 2011)
  • Over the past three months the volume of total new orders rose modestly (+8%), and is expected to see faster growth over the next three months (+27%)
  • Output was broadly flat for the second quarter running (+1%), but, like orders, is expected to see a significant increase in the next three months (+19%)
  • SMEs also expect to increase employment (+16%) in the next quarter