Europe

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 06:00

UK Retail Sales Rebound in May; Confidence Up - CBI Survey


LONDON (MNI) - Retail sales volumes rebounded in May after a weak April. according to the CBI Distributive Trades survey.

The May reported sales volume balance surged to 21% from -6% in April, above all analysts' forecasts in an MNI survey. The May quarterly survey showed sentiment turned positive, with the business situation balance climbing to 3% from -12% in February.

Retailers expect June to be a little better than May, with the expected June sales balance up at 25% and the expected orders volume balance at 18%, up from 16% in May.

The quarterly survey showed retailers expect, on balance, to be able to push prices up. The expected selling prices balance climbed to 53% from 45 in February, and reported selling prices rose to 54% from 49%.

The CBI retail surveys were conducted between April 26 and May 16 period and so did not include the fine weather at the end of the May.

Analysts' forecasts for the monthly data were widely dispersed.

While some expected another weak month of sales, others predicted a rebound from the poor April sales outturn the forecast range extended from -10 to +10, with a median zero reported sales balance in the MNI survey.

The April CBI survey had found retailers were fairly upbeat about the outlook for May. The expected orders balance for May, climbed to 6% from -12% in April and the expected May sales balance hit 19% from -4%.

Judith McKenna, chairman of distributive trades panel and Asda chief operating officer said "It is encouraging to see high street sales compared to a year ago, and that business sentiment about the next three months has improved."

"However, sales are still below the average for the time of year," she added.

-London bureau: 44 20 7862 7491; email: wwilkes@marketnews.com drobinson@marketnews.com

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