Retailers bask in the sunshine as sales bounce back

After a lacklustre June, consumers are buying barbecues and bikinis (sounds dangerous), according to a CBI survey.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 30 Sep 2014

Sudden weather changes tend to throw Brits into a flap, blessing retailers with a rash of impulse buying. Cold snaps send people scrabbling for new coats (bar the rare occasions they get snowed in), while a heatwave gets them flashing the cash for barbecues and bikinis.

Not entirely surprising, then, that sales volumes were better than expected in the three months to July as the weather hotted up. Almost half of retailers said they increased, while a quarter reported a fall, according to a CBI survey. The balance of +21% (the almost majority minus the 25%) beat economists’ forecasts of +17% and was a sharp rebound from the seven month low of +4% in June.

Sales grew at grocers, clothes and shoe shops and furniture and DIY stores, while they fell at chemists (fewer colds now summer has really kicked in?). Internet sales rose strongly, with +37% of retailers reporting growth, but it was below the long-run average of +51%.

A balance of +36% expect sales volumes to rise next month. Meanwhile, +32% increased their stock to meet expected demand, the highest balance since November 1984, when Wham! and Chaka Khan topped the charts and the economy was recovering from the recession of the early 80s.

Good news all round then, as long as mullets don’t make a comeback too. But with jelly sandals in fashion again, you never know...

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