Footwear retailers have been singled out by the CBI as enjoying solid growth as conditions in the retail sector begin to stabilise according to the association’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey.
39% of total retailers polled by the CBI reported a rise in year-on-year sales volumes in September, while 36% said they fell.
The resulting balance of +3% was better than expected, and follows four consecutive months of falling sales. Looking forward to October, the CBI said that retailers expect sales will remain broadly flat compared with a year ago.
Order volumes placed with suppliers declined “very modestly” and at the lowest rate since February this year. The report predicted that these volumes would stabilise during the coming month.
The three-month moving average of sales volumes was up on the previous month at a balance of -9% versus -16% in August. However, despite sales volumes stabilising, a net 22% of firms described them as below average for the time of year.
A net 3% of retailers reported volumes of stock to be slightly more than adequate to meet expected demand, compared with a zero balance in August.
Volumes in the wholesale sector were broadly flat in the year to September after 11 months of falling sales. Sales volumes in the wholesale sector are expected to fall next month by a balance of -38%.
Andy Clarke, Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, and Chief Operating Officer of Asda, said: “After months of heavy de-stocking, retailers may now be starting to think about getting new products on the shelves. In the months running up to Christmas we may see some shoppers bring forward spending to beat the planned VAT rise.”