Christmas cheer for high street retailers?

Retail sales boost ahead of Christmas promises a season of good will for the high street.

By News Desk
27th November 2009 at 13:46

Positive pre-Christmas retail salesSales on the high street have grown at their fastest rate for two years according to the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industries (CBI). The survey showed 40% of retailers had seen sales volumes rise in the year to November.

Although 27% had seen a fall in sales, the resulting balance at +13% reveals a second month of growing confidence and the highest balance since November 2007.

The majority of retailers are also expecting Christmas sales to be better this year than last.

Andy Clarke, ceo of Asda said:

A lot of retailers have suffered during 2009, and many are relieved that the year is ending on a more positive note.

But could the forthcoming January VAT increase be in part responsible for the boost in pre-Christmas trade?

Richard Lowe of Barclays thinks this may well be having an impact:

Carefully considering the New Year’s forthcoming VAT increase, Christmas shoppers may be looking to purchase big-ticket items for themselves as well as the traditional items on their gift lists.

Despite this, more positive signs on the high street can only be good news.

It will be interesting to see how up-beat the mood remains and to read the like-for-like sales figures from retailers in the New Year.

[Photo credit: tboard licenced from Flickr]

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