Garden centres outperformed the High Street in July, with sunny weather and the feelgood factor of victories for British sportsmen cited as factors behind UK retail sales values being up.
The British Retail Consortium/KPMG found a 2.2 per cent increase in High Street sales on a like-for-like basis from July 2012, when they had increased 0.1 per cent on the preceding year.
Garden Centre Association figures show a July sales increase of 17.5 per cent, with outdoor living, hard landscaping and plants doing best.
On a total basis on the High Street, sales were up 3.9 per cent, against a 2.0 per cent increase in July 2012, the fastest July growth since 2006. In real terms, total growth was 4.4 per cent, the fastest since April 2011,
However, BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker show overall like-for-like high street sales in July were flat (0.0 per cent). But non-fashion and homewares sales were up 3.4 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.
BDO retail and wholesale head Don Williams said: "The results show how weather extremes can send things out of kilter for retailers who don’t have the ability to react quickly and haven’t invested in their products and customer experience. There’s an opportunity coming in the Autumn as consumer confidence starts to gain momentum, and retailers need to make sure they are positioned to take advantage."
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "This is a very solid sales performance, the second best month this year and better than we’ve seen in any July since 2006. It has been driven by the warm weather and retailers working hard to offer deep discounts and great offers to their customers, with the reduction in shop prices we reported for July translating into more generous spending in UK stores.