Retail sector sees sixth month of growth

Retail sales saw an increase for sixth month running in May, according to new data from the CBI’s quarterly distributive trades. While the figures were lower than last month due to Easter spending in April, experts say the overall sales figures are still positive and represent healthy economy growth.

Overall, 38 per cent of retailers saw an increase in sales, while 22 per cent saw a fall. This gives an overall net positive percentage of 16, which is lower than the 30 per cent in April, but still a sign of the British economy picking up. The report also found that 29 per cent more retailers were expecting a growth in sales next month.

Retail is seeing a real trend in positive reports lately; the Office for National Statistics recently revealed that the sector had enjoyed its fastest-growing pace in over a decade, while the recovery of the housing crisis has encouraged a boost in home and decorating retail.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, commented: “The fundamentals for consumers are currently improving overall, and they should continue to do so over the coming months as employment continues to rise and earnings growth likely trends higher than inflation.”

However, Paul Hollingsworth, assistant economist at Capital Economics, was quick to mention that statistics also showed a slowing down, stating: “This suggests that retail spending may slow from its recent robust rates of growth. Indeed, we had already begun to doubt that retail sales growth could maintain its recent strength, given that real pay is still struggling to rise on a sustained basis.”

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