Summer fashion and footwear boost retail sales

RETAIL sales in June grew 1.4% on the same month last year as warmer weather persuaded shoppers to splash out on summer clothes and shoes.

The figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed total sales growth of 2.9%, which is  just ahead of the year-to-date average of 2.8% and better than the 12-month-average of 2.4%. In real terms, growth was 2.3% over the last six months against 1.5% over the last 12 months.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Despite challenging economic conditions continuing, June saw another strong performance from the UK’s retailers, with very respectable overall growth across the categories.

“One of the best performing areas was fashion. As the weather warmed up, we saw a good reaction to the excellent promotions that are available at the moment, accompanied by continuing demand for value and essential items.

“The weather also helped DIY and gardening products record a good month, and we saw some of the purchases that may have been postponed during the cold weather earlier in the year begin to take place.”

Brian Green, head of retail at KPMG in the North West, said: “This is another respectable performance by UK retailers. Sales are moving in the right direction, albeit hard-earned and promotion driven.

” The statistics are all the more creditable as last year’s sales included a Jubilee boost.‪‪ Periods of sunshine helped to lift the gloom on the high street and retailers celebrated another month of rising sales.  

“Sales of fashion and footwear particularly benefited from the change in seasons as shoppers refreshed their wardrobe and got ready to enjoy the warmer weather.  These figures certainly underline the impact that weather can have on a retailer’s performance.‪”

Mr Green said with arrival this month of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first baby, retailers will be hoping for a boost in sales of champagne and commemorative items.

“While this temporary uplift won’t transform the fortunes of the UK retail sector, a mini memorabilia bonanza would still raise some much needed cash for retailers’ coffers, putting them on a stronger footing as they restock stores with autumnal ranges,” he added.