The oldest UK retail business survey running today, the Distributive Trades Survey (DTS) provides a time series stretching back over 35 years. Both CBI members and non-members in retail, wholesaling and motor trades across the UK fill out the DTS, including those who sell predominantly online. It contains the earliest released UK retail sales data, coming out weeks before official data. The insights are particularly valuable during the current period of structural change in the retail sector.
It allows for unique insight into how issues such as digital disruption and value-conscious consumers are impacting retailers and other parts of the distribution sector.
The survey is followed by market analysts, economists, businesses and policymakers as an important bellwether for the retail sector and consumer spending habits, and it is weighted to ensure it is fully reflective of the whole distribution sector. Capturing business sentiment in the way it does the survey provides a powerful early signal to inform economic outlook forecasts for the UK's distribution sector.