Weather helps garden centre sales again in week to 28th July

Garden retail sales again beat 2012 in the week to 28 July, with returns up five per cent on the previous year mainly thanks to gains in garden furniture.

Aquatic sales were up 22 per cent, machinery was up 90 per cent, outdoor plants was up three per cent, clothing was up 50 per cent, food was up two per cent, and furniture was up 40 per cent.

The books category was down 15 per cent, sundries down one per cent, gifts down three per cent, houseplants down five per cent, pets down two per cent and restaurant down one per cent.

On the high street, retail sales saw the first rise in five months in the year to July, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 60 retailers saw year-on-year high street sales this month grow at a stronger pace than expected, after a flat first half of 2013 - the first rise since February.

But overall sales volumes remained below average for the time of year and sales growth is expected to ease back slightly in August.

The survey, which is 30 years-old this month, was conducted between 26 June and 16 July 2013.

CBI economics director Stephen Gifford said: "The feel-good factor from the heatwave and early summer sales has helped boost high street sales, after a very weak start to the year.

"A return to even modest spending is welcome news but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve significantly.

"A positive knock-on effect on retail sales from the royal baby has been mooted, but much more realistically, continued good weather and discounts will play a greater role in retail growth over the next month."

Some 43 per cent of firms reported that sales volumes were up on a year earlier and 26 per cent said they were down - the resulting balance of +17 per cent was the highest since January 2013 (+17 per cent). This was slightly above expectations of +13 per cent.


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