Sales in June were up 1.4% on a like-for-like basis as Jubilee celebrations and warm weather saw a strong start to the trading period.
On a total basis sales were up 3.5% compared to June 2011, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
Clothing and footwear performed particularly well during the week before the Jubilee; however the remainder of the month was more challenging.
Clothing sales were flat compared to last June when sales were marginally down. Warmer weather at the beginning of the month meant a strong start to the trading period with men’s women’s and kidswear performing well.
However later on in the month as the weather cooled the remaining few weeks were challenging. Kidswear remained the most resilient, while men’s clothing also showed signs of modest growth. Womenswear was hardest hit as sales dropped compared to last year. Seasonal lines were slow as consumers bought warmer garments such as knitwear.
Footwear sales held up stronger than clothing during the month. Children’s footwear was the strongest performer although women’s footwear was also up on last year despite sales being slow on seasonal lines such as sandals and sales often promotion driven. With the weather remaining wet boots sold well for the time of the year and tight budgets favoured value lines and styles that could be worn for both work and leisure.
Due to the wet weather department stores saw a rise in footfall, which helped deliver robust sales. Clothing sales, particularly kidswear, were strong although some retailers said that promotional activity was at a higher level than last year.
Online (including mail order and phone)
Sales of non-food items grew by 12.1%, with clothing sales continuing to show strong growth. Premium lines held up well for some, with accessories also benefitting from deep targeted discounting. Online footwear sales also continued to grow strongly. However sales were often promotion driven and at the expense of margins.
Stephen Robertson, director general of 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”