Retail Sales Dip, But Orders Still Above Expectations
Would-be retailers at business school in London at the moment will no doubt be interested to hear that growth for retail sales slowed somewhat in the year leading up to February, although orders for suppliers remained unchanged and in fact were better than expected.
This is according to the latest research from The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which found that retailers intend to scale back their investment spending slightly in the coming year, with survey respondents saying that they expect to see a decent improvement where business conditions are concerned in the next three months.
CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith observed that conditions are still challenging for those in the retail sector. Even though sales have grown and optimism is on the rise, sales growth expectations are lukewarm and businesses are wary about investing.
"And unreformed business rates are making it tougher for retailers to open up new shops on the high street. But retailers still stand to benefit from the low level of inflation and strong job creation across the economy, which should continue to support household spending," she said.
This comes as the CBI found that government policy changes like the apprenticeship levy and the national living wage, coupled with inaction on business rates, will cost companies approximately £9 billion each year by 2020-2021.
The organisation is now warning the government that the impact policy costs will have has gone far enough if the government is serious about driving growth in the economy and supporting companies in the UK.