December 23 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

CBI reports UK retail sales growth strongest since 1988

UK retail sales growth

British retail sales growth fastest since 1988 according to a CBI report.

The distributive trades report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed retail sales growth post a huge leap in December, driven by bumper Black Friday sales.


A balance of 61 per cent of respondents reported sales volumes up on a year ago, which was way higher than forecasts of 38 per cent and the highest balance seen since January 1988. These figures follow results from the Office for National Statistics which showed retail sales growth in November much higher than forecast.

The CBI report showed sales volumes for the time of year were also above the long-term average, as a balance of 16 per cent of respondents described them as good.

Grocers saw the strongest growth of year-on-year sales while internet sales growth slowed in December, however remained above average.


Retail sales growth hits 26-year high

The survey of 122 firms covered the fortnight ending December 11th and includes the notorious retailing days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which will have contributed to the 26-year high for retail sales growth.

“The strongest sales growth for a quarter of a century is a big boost for retailers as they head towards the climax of the crucial pre-Christmas trading period,” said Barry Williams, CBI distributive trades survey chairman and Asda chief merchandising officer for food.

“Black Friday price-cuts, embraced more widely by more UK retailers than ever, and discounting played an important part in helping sales, encouraging more customers into stores and online to buy more widely,” he added.


However, sales growth is expected to slow next month as “shoppers may have caught the Christmas bug early and brought some of their spending forward”.

“This has been a tough year for many retailers and parts of the sector are still struggling. Increasing disposable income from real wages growth, and falling fuel prices are giving retailers reasons for optimism but we’ll need to see in the New Year whether the upbeat mood takes hold,” said Mr Williams.

Thiago Kiwi

Thiago is the LSBF Blog Editor who manages news and features content on the site, and writes about business, finance, technology, education and careers.

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