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Clothing sales bounce back in February says CBI

The clothing sector bounced back from a disappointing January as retail sales grew strongly in the year to February, increasing at the fastest pace since June 2012.

Sales have grown across the retail sector for the ninth consecutive month, with revenues beating expectations, according to CBI’s quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 120 firms showed that retailers’ investment intentions for the year ahead are at their highest since November 2010. Sales volumes were strong for clothing retailers, and firms anticipate revenues will strengthen again next month.

Of those surveyed 45% reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 8% said they were down, giving a balance of +37%, the strongest since June 2012. The clothing sector bounced back from a disappointing January during which sales slipped 55%, with growth in sales volumes of +33%.

Barry Williams, Asda chief merchandising officer for food, and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, said: “There is growth across many sectors, including grocers and clothing outlets, while investment intentions are at their highest for more than three years. Although we are by no means seeing a universally confident shopper, the positive indicators have perhaps given some people the urge to spend.”

He added: “Overall sales have been remarkably resilient in the face of disruption from the exceptional weather across the UK, which has badly affected many families and businesses.”

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