The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a boost in sales for UK retailers in June, attributing this to a combination of events, but led by the recent heatwave. Since the unexpected warmer weather first appeared in May, economists recorded a GDP increase of 0.3%. This is a welcome change from an extended period of no growth, primarily put down to the “beast from the east” earlier in the year.
As well as soaring temperatures causing shoppers to stock up on beer and barbecues, the ONS also attributed a retail boost to May’s Royal Wedding, where millions took part in public and private celebrations.
As the soaring temperatures continued into June, so did good news for the UK economy. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) recorded a 2.3% rise in the value of total retail sales, and this was before the World Cup had even begun. Once things kicked off in Russia, millions more reached for their wallets, flocking to buy match day supplies and cut-price wide-screen TVs.
Despite the heatwave showing no sign of letting up, Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive, cautions that this does not necessarily mean that these positive economic trends will continue. Helen said: “Once the euphoria of sporting success subsides, without a deal on Brexit, shoppers face the prospect of significant price increases”.
Whilst they stirred up considerable excitement and spending with the British public, the Royal Wedding and the World Cup were short-lived successes in comparison to the long-term reality of Brexit. Uncertainty and instability in British politics seems to take new twists and turns by the hour, and this is likely to exacerbate predictions of a dip in the fortune of British retailers in the next 12 months.
What these events and the ONS’s figures do prove though, is the success British retailers can have when taking advantage of social, sporting and national events. Boosted sales at these times of year can help limit the impact of negative economic and seasonal trends in other months, so a well-thought-out strategy, planned in advance, really does pay off and make a difference to the bottom line.