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Retailers report high cash flow expectations and record levels of optimism

The latest trade survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows a substantial boost in spirits among retailers and grocers. 

After a slight drop in growth in the previous quarter, supplier orders have once again increased – and this time at the fastest pace since November last year. Internet sales volumes were also on the rise from the beginning of the year to August, contributing to the overall sales growth reported by 51 per cent of respondents. 

Positive predictions 

These inspiring trends look set to continue as more than 42 per cent of retailers say they anticipate sales volume will grow at an even faster pace in September and a further 49 per cent expecting sales to grow at the same pace. Only 7 per cent of businesses are expecting fewer enquiries as the seasons shift. 

In fact, business optimism is now the highest it’s been since before the recession in May 2002. Looking ahead to the next three months, 25 per cent of CBI respondents feel certain their business situation will improve. Among the most optimistic retail sub-sectors are grocers, chemists and furniture and carpet providers – all of which have reported sales growth of more than 60 per cent in the last quarter. 

Invest in the internet to fuel growth 

Perhaps the most useful nugget of wisdom to arise from the CBI’s survey is the fact that internet sales are up by 47 per cent and 62 per cent of companies expect online enquiries to accelerate even further in the next quarter. With this welcome injection of cash, now is the time to devise cross-platform promotions that attract consumers both in-store and online, targeting as many prospective customers as possible and shifting your stock at record rates. CBI deputy director-general Katja Hall confirms: 

“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 any time since 2002.” 


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