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UK retailers see sharpest decline in decade says CBI

Christian Fernsby |
Retail sales in the United Kingdom (UK) fell at the fastest pace in June since 2009 as a result of relatively cooler weather, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said.

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Within the retail sector, grocers were the largest contributors to the fall in sales volumes, with the hardware, DIY, footwear and leather sub-sectors also reporting declines. Notably, the only sub-sector to see rising sales this month was non-store retailers such as internet and mail order, the CBI said.

16 percent of retailers said that sales volumes were up in June on a year ago, while 58 percent said they were down. 15 percent of retailers placed more orders with suppliers than they did a year ago, while 48 percent placed fewer orders, according to CBI.

Alpesh Paleja, CBI Principal Economist said: "This month's drop in sales should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the backdrop of last June's heatwave and the start of the World Cup."

"But even accounting for both factors, underlying conditions on the high street remain challenging. Retailers are having to continually compete for the attention of value-conscious shoppers, in the age of digital disruption," Paleja said.

The CBI figures were published amid recent data that suggests a weak second quarter growth for the UK economy, as the boost from stockpiling activities in the first quarter fades.

CBI predicted the UK will return to a subdued growth path further ahead, although risks from Brexit uncertainty and global trade tensions remain heightened.

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