By Daniel Hunter

Retail sales volumes slowed somewhat in the 12 months up to June from their strong rally in May, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 131 firms showed the volume of retail sales rose at a slightly slower pace than anticipated in the year to June. But sales remained a little above average for the time of year and growth is expected to improve next month.

Growth in orders placed upon suppliers was also lower than expected but is expected to pick up pace again in July.

The slowdown in headline sales growth from last month was mostly driven by the grocers sector, where volumes were flat in the year to June following May’s strong showing.
Most other retail sub-sectors reported growth in sales volumes, with the clothing sector and ‘other normal goods’, which includes flowers, watches and jewellery, some of the best performing.

Internet sales volumes rose again in the year to June. However, the rate of growth eased off slightly on the previous month.

Wholesaling and motor trades saw robust growth, with the former exceeding expectations for sales volumes, and expected to accelerate in July.

Barry Williams, CBI Distributive Trades Survey Chairman and Asda’s Chief Customer Officer, said: “Summer is a time of optimism for retailers and this year is no different. Even though growth slowed slightly this month, retailers are not letting that subdue their hopes for the season.

“Low inflation — expected to stay below 1% throughout this year — has given customers more discretionary income. The power of the pound in their pocket is going further and shoppers are spending more on treats, like flowers and jewellery, as well as on activities with their families.”