UK retail sales strong in July but stock levels slide

UK retailers have reported another strong month of sales growth but saw stock levels slump to a new record low, according to new data.

The latest retail sales research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said sector sales for July were “ahead of expectations” as they showed a marginal slowdown from June, which had seen the fastest rise since 2018.

It revealed a 23 per cent rise in retail sales volumes for July, having recorded a 25 per cent improvement in the previous month.

According to the CBI’s principal economist, Ben Smith, the latest figures show that “consumer demand continues to support the UK’s economic recovery”.

READ MORE: Food and petrol price rises drive UK inflation higher in June, ONS reveals

The CBI also predicts that sales are now expected to rise at a faster pace next month, but orders are likely to slow down.

For July, companies reported the fastest growth in orders for more than a decade, amid 49 per cent year-on-year growth for the month.

The CBI survey of 124 firms also found that stock levels in relation to expected sales across the distribution sector reached a survey record low in July, for the second consecutive month.

The retail and wholesale sectors reported relative stocks as too low, with the situation expected to deteriorate further in August, the CBI added.

“While demand may be more stable, operational issues worsen,” Smith said.

“Relative stock levels are at a record low and expected to fall further still, while the number one worry for many firms at the minute is labour shortages throughout the supply chain as staff self-isolate.”

with PA Wires.

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