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 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
High Street sales flat and business situation expected to deteriorate - CBI
Sales on the UK high street were flat in August compared to a year ago, broadly in line with retailers’ expectations, but sentiment about the business situation deteriorated sharply
Retail sales growth eases in year to July - CBI survey
High street retailers reported a third consecutive month of rising year on year sales and orders in July. However, growth slowed to a greater extent than had been expected, the CBI said
High street sales continue to grow strongly in the year to June
Retailers reported a further improvement in the growth of sales volumes and orders in the year to June, although sales remained below the levels expected for the time of year, the CBI has said
High-street sales grow and business sentiment improving
Retail sales volumes rose strongly in May compared to a year ago, and sentiment regarding the business situation for the next quarter has improved. But sales were still reported to be below average for the time of year.