Retail sales have bounced back strongly in December with a net 34% of retailers reporting sales up year-on-year, ahead of the CBI’s expectations of 24%.
Overall, 48% of respondents reported sales were up on the same period last year, while 14% saw a decrease, resulting in the 34% balance.
Almost a third, or 31%, expect sales growth to continue into next month with just 2% expecting them to fall.
The figures are a stark increase on November when sales growth stalled across multiple sub-sectors. Some 40% of grocers reported sales up compared to a 20% decrease last year, while 36% of non-specialised stores, including department stores, reported growth versus -28% in November and 33% of clothes shops compared to -15% last month.
Barry Williams, Asda’s chief merchandising officer for food, and chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel, said: ‘After a disappointing couple of months, sales volumes in December recovered their sparkle, beating retailers’ expectations.
‘Customers have clearly held off spending through the autumn and we’re only now seeing them start to hit the stores. Retailers are now gearing up for the crucial pre-Christmas week and are optimistic for the New Year.’