CBI Realized Sales (Confederation of British Industries)

Release Date: Released monthly, usually in the last week of the month
Release Time: At 7am Eastern US time
Released By: Confederation of British Industry

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Realized Sales report is a monthly report issued by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). It is also known as the CBI Distributive Trades Survey (DTS). This report is the result of a poll of 150 retail and wholesale firms, asking them specifically to rate their current sales volumes and their volume of orders for the month under review. The survey also requires the polled retail/wholesale firms to indicate what their expectations for the next month would be compared with the same period the previous year. The results are grouped into different retail categories, ranging from grocers to recreational goods.

The CBI realized sales number is then derived by calculating the percentage difference in those retailers who report an increase in their retail volume, and those who report a decrease.

That is, CBI Realized Sales = % of retailers with increased sales volume – % of retailers with reduced sales volume. A rising positive figure is an indication of a strong retail sales situation, high consumer spending and a healthy economy. A falling negative figure is a sign of weak retail sales and an ailing economy.

Time of Release

The CBI Realized Sales report is released monthly, usually in the last week of the month. The release time is 7am Eastern US time. Information about this news release can be obtained from the CBI press releases website.

Interpreting the Data

This report is seen as an accurate leading indicator of the monthly retail sales picture in the U.K, and by extension, a leading indicator of consumer spending since retail sales are directly impacted by the spending habits of consumers. This report is therefore watched very keenly by market participants. It therefore carries a high market impact and is very tradable. The currency of choice to trade the CBI Realized Sales report is the GBPUSD.

A higher than expected reading is GBP positive, while a lower than expected reading is seen as GBP negative. A factor that will influence the volatility of the GBPUSD to this report is the rate of change. If there are very wide swings in the readings from the previous data to the present one, there will be high volatility in the GBP pairs.

CBI Realized Sales reading
Snapshot of response of GBPUSD to a much higher than expected CBI Realized Sales reading

In this example, the CBI Realized Sales reading on Dec 18, 2013 spiked from a low of 1 in November to 34. The expected reading was 9. This was not only a surprise to the upside, but was a marked improvement from the previous reading. This led to a 100 pip rise in the value of the GBPUSD within 4 hours of the release of the report, and 12 hours post-release, the GBPUSD was 200 pips higher before it retraced.


Being a marker of retail sales in the UK, and having a very direct response to the GBP pairs, traders are encouraged to trade the CBI Realized Sales data.