Retail sales helped by warm June weather
Retail sales received a warm weather boost in June as consumers splashed out on swimwear, outdoor furniture and sun care.
Total retail sales were 4.9% higher than last June – and above the three-month average growth of 4.6% – as the hot weather prompted purchases of swimwear and beach towels, suncream, outdoor games, garden furniture and barbecue food, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
Sales were boosted by families celebrating Father’s Day but consumers were more cautious about big-ticket buys such as indoor furniture and technology equipment.
Food sales increased by 9.8%, well above the 12-month average of 7.7%, whilst non-food sales were up 0.3%.
Online sales of non-food items continued to fall but at a significantly slower rate – down 1% against last June’s 9.1% decline – with household appliances and gardening equipment proving popular.
Helen Dickinson, CEO at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Consumer confidence remains fragile.
“But, with headline food inflation easing for two months in a row as prices of essentials start to fall thanks to stiff competition and consumers continuing to shift shopping patterns to mitigate as much inflation as they can, confidence could improve.”
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added: “Apart from a blip in May, retail sales growth has remained steady at around 5% every month in the first half of this year.
“As we move into the last half the year, retailers will be hoping that anticipated falls in inflation start to deliver stronger sales growth in order to improve the overall health of the sector.
“The wild card continues to be food inflation which remain stubborn and is having a negative impact on consumers’ ability to spend on non-essential items.”