UK Retailers Optimism at an All Time High Since 2002

During the recession, the UK retail industry took a rather large hit with sales declining in retail stores up and down the country. Sales even dwindled in some of the UK’s top high street stores which lead to the unfortunate closure of stores like Woolworths. Despite this, it looks like the UK’s retail industry is bouncing back according to CBI’s (Confederation of British Industry) quarterly survey which was published this week. The survey claims that the retail sector is feeling rather optimistic about business growth over the next three months and this optimism is at an all-time high since May 2002.

The survey shows that sales growth within the UK retail industry is booming and this surge in sales is the sector’s biggest improvement in over twelve years. The CBI’s survey shows that sales balance increased to +37 during August in comparison to economists’ predictions of just +27. With figures like that, it’s no surprise then that the retail industry is feeling rather upbeat about sales forecasts.

This is good news for the UK’s high street retailers who haven’t exactly had an easy ride when it comes to sales growth. It looks like the results of CBI’s survey are being received as a much welcomed relief. The deputy director general of the business lobby group Katja Hall has made the following statement:

“The high streets have been bustling with shoppers this summer and it is good to see firms so optimistic about their business prospects for the next three months – higher than at any time since 2002. Retailers looking forward to stronger growth in September are keeping their shelves well stocked in anticipation.”

The GfK’s managing director of social research Nick Moon shares Hall’s enthusiasm for a continued sales surge for the UK’s retail stores:

“There is no guarantee how long this stable position will last – a rush of good or bad economic news could set off a marked rise or fall, but things could stay like this for a while.”

Employment in the retail sector is also looking pretty good. Job creation in the industry has been boosted with +12 companies stating increased employment rates over the last twelve months. This should reassure jobseekers who are looking for work within the retail sector because job openings and employment are on the rise which will increase their chances of securing a job.

Another comment in association to CBI’s survey comes from Paul Hollingsworth who is an economist at Capital Economics:

“There are some doubts as to whether or not consumers can sustain this pace of spending growth whilst real pay is still falling on an annual basis. However, we remain optimistic that the economic recovery will start to feed into stronger pay growth towards the end of this year.”

The UK’s retail sector may still be feeling the pinch of the recession but CBI’s survey is very encouraging in regards to the sector’s ability to sustain sales growth and even employment rates which also seemed to be hit hard as well. The retail industry relies heavily on consumer confidence, so just as long as consumers are willing to spend and continue to spend, the retail sector should be able to make the comeback it so desperately needs.

Image credit – Rudchenko Liliia/Shutterstock





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