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High Street Sales Fall

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The CBI’s latest Distributive Trades Survey, which spans the period from 27 May to 15 June, revealed that 33% of retailers saw sales volumes increase on a year ago, while 34% reported a fall. The resulting rounded balance of -2% is the first time in a year that sales have not grown (-5% was recorded in June 2010) and compares with +18% last month.

The three-month moving average of sales volumes, which smoothes out monthly volatility, weakened slightly in June (+12%), compared to +18% in May.

For the time of year sales were below average: 17% of retailers reported them to be good, 36% said they were poor, giving a balance of -19%.

June’s decline in sales volumes was mainly driven by weakening performance in the two largest sub-sectors. Clothing sales were flat (-2%), the lowest balance since January 2010 (-12%). Meanwhile, grocers’ sales (+26%) grew at the slowest pace in more than two years (+7% in March 2009). Sales of durable household goods (-85%) and footwear & leather (-82%) fell particularly rapidly.

Looking ahead, retailers expect sales to remain flat next month (+2%).

Judith McKenna, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and ASDA Chief Financial Officer, said:

“After a year of growth, high street sales volumes fizzled out in June. Consumers are really feeling the pinch as disposable incomes continue to be squeezed by rising prices and weak earnings growth.

“The cost of living is increasing and petrol prices have risen particularly sharply. Shoppers are budgeting hard and cutting back on their discretionary spending, such as on clothes and big ticket household goods.

“Household budgets are likely to remain tight over the coming months, with inflation edging higher as increases in domestic gas and electricity prices take effect.”

Orders placed by retailers upon suppliers edged down (-5%) and are expected to be flat next month. The volume of stocks in relation to expected demand (+16%) dipped below the long-run average (+18%).

Among wholesalers, 14% reported a rise in the volume of sales in June and 34% a fall, giving a balance of -20%. That is the lowest balance since January 2010 (-38%) and was driven by weaker sales of building and industrial materials.

Among motor traders, 45% saw the volume of sales increase in June, while 55% reported a fall, giving a balance of -10%, unchanged on May’s balance. Sales are expected to be flat next month (-5%).

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Always hard to link High Street sales to the general economy - how many sales are now just taking place on the internet instead?

I always think mainline train occupancy rates may give a clearer picture of the overall economy. Do we have access to these figures anywhere?

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The major airports seem to be busy

bbc link

The latest BAA figures show last month lifted Heathrow to 68m travellers over the previous year - the highest 12-month figure ever.

While Glasgow saw an increase last month of 7% in passengers, it struggled into positive territory for the 12-month period.

Much healthier figures were registered at BAA's other two Scottish airports, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

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Surprised the leather sales are down, thought the government were buying us all a gimp mask to go with those RBS and Lloyds shares we're being 'given.'

My gimp mask is PVC :ph34r:

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