UK retail sales values were up 1.4% on a like-for-like basis from June 2011, when they were down 0.6% on a year ago, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
On a total basis, sales were up 3.5%, against a 1.5% rise in June 2011.
The Jubilee celebrations and warm weather saw a strong start to trading period. Food sales were up on a year ago, driven by a strong start in the week preceding the Jubilee – the strongest since Easter. The Jubilee celebrations helped the sale of party foods such as crisps, cakes and dips, while non-alcoholic beverages, wines, beers and spirits also sold very well compared with a weaker June last year. Grocery sales then tailed-off for the remainder of the month, hindered by the wettest June on record.
Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, said: “It was the bunting boost. June was saved by the feel-good lift of the Jubilee, showing how crucial these temporary factors are in our difficult trading conditions.
“A trip to the shops played a big part in preparations for the occasion. The week leading up to the long weekend was a stand-out for the retail sector. Food and clothing and footwear retailers had the best of it as people bought in special food and drink and, encouraged by warmer weather, some treated themselves to shorts, dresses and sandals.
“Sadly the soggy celebrations over the Jubilee weekend itself, which heralded the start of the wettest June on record, were followed by far weaker business for the rest of the month. Belts were tightened again and the lower temperatures cooled demand for summer fashions and outdoor leisure goods.
“With the first half of the year complete, we can see total sales growth between this January and June was no better than in 2011. It’s clear a permanent upturn in confidence and spending has yet to happen. Scrapping next month’s fuel duty rise will help hard-pressed customers and businesses. The Government needs to be equally supportive as it considers where next for other costs it controls.”
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of Food and Drink at IGD, said: “The first week of June was the second biggest food and grocery sales period of the year after the Easter week, with alcohol selling particularly well. But the record rainfall meant this boost fizzled out as the month progressed. England doing a little better than expected in Euro 2012 did not seem to help.
“With the Olympics fast approaching, food and grocery companies will hope for a more sustained increase in sales. While shoppers are prepared to treat themselves during big events, in these tough times value still remains important. Over half of shoppers (53%) told us they are only interested in products featured in a themed event if they are on promotion.”