UK retail sales benefit from heatwave

| July 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s retail sales monitor has revealed a rise in UK retail sales in June, primarily due to the good weather during the month.

Like-for-like sales rose 1.4% last month compared with June 2008 with non-food sales over the three months to June experiencing their best performance since October last year.

However, big-ticket items such as homewares and furniture sales remained difficult, said the BRC.

Commenting on the figures, Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC, said: “June’s sunshine gave overall sales a much-needed boost. The heatwave helped food retailers and got customers buying outdoor goods, such as garden furniture, pools and picnicware.”

In the meantime, items such as fans, air conditioning and fridges were also strong due to the good weather. Hay fever remedies also experienced strong sales with some retailers seeing a rise in tissues and anti-bacterial products linked to the spread of swine flu.

In addition, the death of pop star Michael Jackson fuelled a surge in the sale of DVD and CDs, according to the BRC.

However, Mr Robertson highlights that non-food sales remained in negative territory as shoppers continued to hold off from “big-ticket” purchases for the home due to rising unemployment which is deterring consumers from splashing out.

Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, has remarked that June’s rise in retail sales gave a “significant lift” to hopes that the UK’s economy has stopped contracting.

Earlier this month, official figures revealed that the UK economy shrank by 2.4% in the first three months of 2009 - far worse than expected and the biggest quarterly decline in 51 years.

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