Sales rise for 43% of retailers in May

But one in five UK stores report sales were below average for this time of year
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Retail sales were up year-on-year in May, with almost half of all retailers saying they’d seen an increase.

CBI data showed that 43 per cent of retailers had reported an increase in sales volumes compared to May 2011, while 23 per cent said of they’d seen a drop in sales. 19 per cent of stores also said that sales were below average for the time of year.

Retailers expect sales volumes to increase by 25 per cent year-on-year in June.

The majority of retail sectors saw sales increase, including grocers (+40%), non-specialised retailers such as department stores (+65%) and furniture and carpets outlets (+72%).

The number of people employed at retail rose 12 per cent year-on-year.

Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and ASDA COO, said: “It’s encouraging to see high-street sales up compared to a year ago, and that business sentiment about the next three months has improved.

“However, sales are still below the average for the time of year and the combination of high unemployment, slow wage growth and weak consumer confidence means that the retail sector is likely to remain under pressure in the short term.”

128 firms took part in the CBI survey.

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