Retail selling prices rise at fastest pace in 30 years
New figures have shown that consumers are facing the fastest price rises since May 1990 in the run-up to Christmas as stock shortages earlier in the year caused people to start their festive shopping earlier.
The data from the CBI in its quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, which covered 125 companies including 51 retailers, also shows that year-on-year sales growth accelerated in November. In addition, the research found that retail sales are expected to remain above seasonal norms to a similar extent next month.
Ben Jones, CBI lead economist, said: “Christmas seems to have come early for retailers, with clothing and department stores in particular seeing a big upward swing in sales volumes in November.
“It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early. And there are encouraging signs that retailers’ efforts to help avoid any festive disappointments may be paying off, with stock levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.”
The figures show that growth in orders placed with suppliers slowed in the year to November, but remained well above the long-run average. Stock levels in relation to expected sales were seen as broadly adequate for the first time since April in November, after reaching a series of record lows over the previous six months.
The CBI also found that overall optimism in the business situation is rising, with the balance of retailers expecting an improvement in conditions over the next quarter.
Jones added: “Overall, retailers are becoming more optimistic, with both employment growth and investment intentions picking up strongly. Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, with selling prices growing at the fastest pace since 1990.”
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