By Daniel Hunter

Retail sales volumes continued to grow solidly in the year to September, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the previous month.

The CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey of 123 respondents also showed that the volume of orders placed on suppliers in the retail sector grew strongly, and broadly in line with expectations. Sales rose well above average for the time of year, while stock adequacy edged slightly lower once again.

Sales growth was broad-based across most sub-sectors. Department stores led the way, and footwear & leather and furniture & carpets retailers also performed strongly. However annual sales growth amongst grocers, the largest sub-sector, slowed significantly, while chemists’ sales volumes fell, after having reported strong annual growth in the previous month.

At the headline level, retail sales volumes are expected to rise strongly again in the year to October, but the pace of growth is set to ease further.

Elsewhere, wholesaling continued to grow robustly in the year to September, with sales growth in clothing, textiles and footwear the highest on record. Overall, volumes are expected to rise strongly again next month. In contrast, motor traders sales growth slowed markedly, and it is expected to fall in October.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said:
“Solid growth continues on the high street, with most sectors doing decent business and department stores performing particularly well. However, the pace of growth in the grocery sector tailed off significantly compared with the previous survey.

“Retailers are expecting sales to grow again next month, but at a steadier pace.”

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