Distributive Trades survey
The survey is conducted on a monthly and quarterly basis and covers 24 sectors of UK retail, wholesale and motor trade activity. It celebrates its 30th anniversary this July and we would like to thank our loyal survey participants who have responded to the survey over this period. It has been of the highest value to the CBI’s continuing assessment of these vital sectors of the economy
This qualitative business survey has been conducted since July 1983 and is completed by senior executives and owner-proprietors. Both the monthly and the quarterly surveys now include questions relating to sales via the internet.
Want to take part in our business surveys? Contact the team
This survey is widely reported as the CBI's 'High Street' survey. The results of this survey are circulated in advance of publication for discussion by the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel. The panel is made up of senior executives from across the sector and is chaired by Judith McKenna, Chief Operating Officer at Asda.
This survey is conducted on a monthly and quarterly basis with the monthly surveys carried out in the intervening months of January, March, April, June, July, September, October and December. The same sample of firms is used each month and the same degree of individual activity data is prepared.
The survey is classified according to the official Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 2007) and the survey weights are now updated on an annual basis. It provides a wide range of disaggregated sector information across retail, wholesale and motor trades activity.
The quarterly and monthly surveys both cover volume of sales, orders on suppliers, sales for the time of year and stocks, while the quarterly survey also covers imports, selling prices, numbers employed, investment and business situation. Both monthly and quarterly surveys now contain questions on current and expected internet sales and average prices for internet goods.
The processed responses convert to raw weighted data from which are derived percentage balances. The percentage balance statistic is the figure derived from the difference between the weighted percentage of companies answering in the positive, minus the percentage replying in the negative. This allows a single number with a plus or minus value to thus represent the answer to any question. Since most of the questions refer to changes in the level of a variable, the absolute value of a balance will give a guide to the change in the variable concerned.
All participants receive a free digest of the latest results of the survey.
News and publications
Retail sales flat, but expected to pick up - CBI
Retailers expect sales to pick up next month, after stagnant volumes in the twelve months to June, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey
Retail sales fall at their steepest rate for 16 months - CBI
Retail sales fell at their fastest rate in more than a year in May, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey - the first fall in annual sales since April 2012 and showing retail activity has steadily weakened since the start of the year.
Sales on the high street continue to stall
Retailers saw sales volumes remain flat in April, defying expectations of growth, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey
Sales growth halts, but retailers expect pick-up - CBI
Retailers expect sales growth to pick up next month after flat sales in March, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey
Retail sales continue to grow but momentum slows - CBI survey
Retailers saw sales volumes continue to strengthen on a year ago in the first half of February, although the pace of growth slowed once again, the CBI said
Retail figures: Sales growth slows in January - CBI
And retailers expect sales to dip slightly below seasonal norms again in February
Retail sales growth slows in December - CBI
The festive season has lost some of its sparkle for retailers, with growth in sales on the high street slowing in December, the CBI said today
Strong retail sales growth continues - CBI survey
There was positive news from the high street this month with retailers reporting improved year on year sales for the third consecutive month and an increase in staff on the shop floor, the CBI said today
Retail sales grow strongly in year to October – CBI survey
Retailers reported a strong rise in sales volumes in the year to October and expect that growth will continue at a similar pace next month, the CBI said today
Sales on the high street grow marginally in the year to September
Retailers reported a slight rise in sales volumes in the year to September, along with the expectation that growth will strengthen somewhat next month, the CBI said