June retail figures up despite rain

Retail sales improved this June, with British Retail Consortium (BRC) and BDO figures showing a jubilee uplift despite the month being the wettest June in a century.

Garden retail sales rise in June despite poor weather - image: HW
Garden retail sales rise in June despite poor weather - image: HW
Online (including mail-order and phone) retail sales rose 12.1 per cent in June according to BRC, compared with the same time last year when sales rose 11.5 per cent. Growth was driven by a strong start to the trading period, helped by the additional bank holiday.  Drizzly weather also helped some online categories as consumers spent more time at home rather than braving the rain. However, growth slipped from May’s rise of 12.4 per cent.

Click-and-collect continued to perform well for many retailers among their multichannel offering and mobile showed strong growth, although from a low base.  Underlying trends remain very challenging and sales were often promotion-driven and at the expense of margins.  Some suggested that the level of promotions exceeded those of the previous year while costs from suppliers, property and distribution continue to rise. 

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "It was the bunting boost. June was saved by the feelgood lift of the Jubilee, showing how crucial these temporary factors are in our difficult trading conditions.

BDO’s June High Street Sales Tracker shows like-for-like sales at mid-tier retailers are up 1.1 per cent year-on-year.

Non-fashion sales jumped 4.2 per cent year-on-year in June, with the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend sparking an upsurge in luxury goods spending as spirits were lifted by the national air of celebration over the four day weekend.

Fashion sales held steady (up 0.5 per cent year-on-year) despite the unseasonal weather hitting demand for summer lines, with retailers retaining the equilibrium through continued discounting.

The only dip was in homewares sales, which plunged 5.8 per cent compared to the same period last year.

But BRC analysis of DIY and gardening sales found outdoor furniture, barbecues and gardening equipment sales were slow and sales were discounted to the detriment of margins.  Big-ticket purchases continued to struggle as consumer confidence about jobs, the economy and finance restrained spending. 

Garden Centre Association figures showed a 3.6 per cent uplift in June.

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