The Independent reports that consumers have slammed on the brakes as far as shopping is concerned. The story draws on survey data, and contradicts official retail sales, which showed a modest gain. However, the aggregate data includes petrol and food vendors, so the real change was probably negative.
From the Independent:
Retailers delivered their worst performance for nearly a quarter of a century last month and there is little sign of relief for them any time soon.
Some 60 per cent of UK retailers said that sales in the first half of August were lower than a year ago, while just 13 per cent said they had increased, the CBI Distributive Trades Survey revealed.
The CBI data reinforces a widely held view among retailers that it could be 2010 before consumers, who are squealing from soaring food prices, utility bills and motoring costs, return to the high street with the vigour of previous years. The survey is also the latest to contrast sharply with the Office of National Statistics’ retail sales data, which showed a 0.8 per cent rise in July and have recently drawn gasps of disbelief from retailers.
The CBI said the resulting rounded balance of minus 46 per cent of retailers posting falling sales was the worst since the survey began 25 years ago, although the business organisation said it had tweaked its answering practices over those years….
The CBI said sales were weak across all retailers, except for grocers, which posted modest growth on a year ago. It said the sectors related to the housing market, particularly durable household goods, furniture and carpets, continued to face “very difficult” conditions. For example, all the furniture and carpet retailers surveyed said their
sales had fallen between 29 July and 13 August, compared with a net balance of plus 46 per cent for the same period last year.