Retailers continued to suffer a tough time on the high street as October marked the fifth consecutive month of falling sales volumes, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest Distributive Trades Survey (DTS).
Forty-two per cent of retailers said sales were down on the same time last year, while only 24 per cent said they were up. The continued weakness in consumer spending made its impact on other areas of the economy such as manufacturing, said the CBI.
Retailers continued to cut back their orders to suppliers and predicted no real increase for November. Despite these declining orders, retailers’ stock levels are back to typical amounts from their low in September, but are expected to fall back slightly next month, said the survey.
“October was yet another tough month for retailers who have seen no let up since June. The effect of five months’ of extremely weak sales is now also having an impact on wholesalers and on the wider economy,” said John Longworth, executive director of Asda and chairman of the CBI’s survey Panel, in a statement.
After six months of sales growth, wholesalers finally felt the effects of weak retail sales. According to the survey, 43 per cent saw a drop in sales compared with a year ago.
To further compound issues, wholesalers also experienced an unexpected build-up in stocks while cutting their own orders to suppliers, putting additional pressure on manufacturers, said the CBI.
Alex Brown, branch manager of retailer Morgan Computers in New Oxford Street, said: “We deal in end-of-life surplus stock and for us, business has been pretty awful.
“October is traditionally a strong time of year for us but this year it was a very poor month. Overall, the second half of this year has not been great.”
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