Stockpiling props up retail sector

Overall retail sales were flat in the year to March, but this masked a sharp divergence between sectors, according to the latest monthly CBI Distributive Trends Survey (conducted between 26 February 2020 and 13 March 2020). Grocers reported exceptionally strong growth in sales volumes in the year to March, as did specialist food and drink firms. However, most other sectors reported sharp falls in sales volumes.

The results of the survey suggest that while households are stockpiling groceries in response to the spread of the Coronavirus and the introduction of social distancing,