Skip to content

Entrepreneurs Panel

Charlie Mullins
Laura Tenison
Debbie Pierce
Steve Purdham
Richard O'Sullivan
Michael Oliver
Jeremy Roberts
Brian Hay
Jennie Johnson
David Pollock
Tony Caldeira
Julie Meyer

Retail sales slow in year to May as households feel the pinch

Retail sales were broadly flat in the year to May following strong growth in April, while selling prices rose at the fastest pace in six years, according to new research.

The Confederation of British Industry's Distributive Trades Survey found 29% of firms saw sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 27% said they were down.

A balance of 6% expect sales volumes to pick up pace a little in June.

Sales volumes for the time of year were considered broadly average, and are expected to remain the same next month.

The volume of orders placed with suppliers fell over the year to May, with 16% reporting a rise and 28% reporting a fall. Firms anticipate a broadly similar fall next month.

Retailers expect their overall business situation to deteriorate over the next three months and investment intentions for the next year compared to the previous 12 months were negative.

Average selling prices rose at the fastest pace since May 2011, with 62% reporting increases.

Year-on-year growth in internet sales volumes slowed markedly in May, dropping from 48% to 31%. Growth is expectedly to accelerate marginally next month (36%), but to remain below the long-run average (52%).

Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said: "It's clear that households are increasingly feeling the pinch, as rising inflation pushes down on real earnings. Taken together with higher import cost pressures from a weaker pound, this is creating a challenging environment for retailers."

  • Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, started with little more than faith and determination, but four years later it’s grown into a global business. Ahead of her appearance at Accelerate 2015 in...

  • Author, writer and marketer Ryan Holiday on how entrepreneurs need to interpret failure.

  • Sue Vizard, business coach and author of Jump Start: The Start-up Book for Your Dream Business, looks at some of the questions solo entrepreneurs should ask themselves.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

Five Minutes With

Reputation is everything when it comes to running a successful business, according to Sacha Lord-Marchionne and Sam Kandel, founders of the Warehouse Project (WHP), a series of club nights featuring DJs from all over the world, which was launched back in 2006.

After travelling the world in a corporate role, Mike Wheeler decided that he had had enough of living out of a suitcase and so got a job running a small family business.