Retailers in January witnessed the weakest sales month since May 2020, with sales down -50% from the previous month.
In January it was also found that retailers’ order balance was the weakest since May 2020 down -45%, from -4% in December and -56% in May. The CBI predicts a similar drop in February of -44%.
The CBI stated that sales are expected to “remain similarly weak for the time of year in February, with both sales and orders sharply down on levels next month”.
Ben Jones, principal economist,CBI said: “With the lockdown likely to remain in place in the near-term, retailers expect this weakness to continue. It is therefore vital that government support continues in parallel to restrictions.
“To alleviate some of the stress on our struggling high streets, the business rates holiday should be extended for at least another three months to those businesses forced to close. In the longer-term there must be a fundamental review of business rates. A reformed system can play a key role in driving essential investment across the UK.”