At the Whim of Weather: UK retail rockets under the sun

In Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales by Vaughn Highfield

Brighton Beach on the hottest day of the year.<br />
Picture by Andrew Hasson, July 2nd 2006.

After a snowy Easter ruined retailers plans for a sunny bank holiday for consumers to spend working on home improvements or with a BBQ, the unusual and unrelenting heatwave that's struck the nation is doing wonders for business.

As the temperature rises to the upper 20's and lower 30's (which is around 86 Fahrenheit for any Americans reading this) Now the sun is shining and seems to be showing no sign of abating any time soon, in true typically British nature, the nation has splurged out on Pimm's, BBQs, suncream, clothing and almost anything we can get that reminds us it's summertime.

UK premium food retailer Waitrose says that sales of the popular fruity summer cocktail Pimm's were up 90 per cent since the sun started to shine. Salads, soft fruit, white wine, rosé, barbeque food and accessories also appear to be likely culprits to rise.

Marks & Spencer also said it had sole nearly 1m punnets of strawberries and Asda saw a doubling in sales of suncare products compared to last year. Peculiarly, fake tan also appears to be on the rise.

Waitrose also claimed that barbecue sales increased by 116 per cent and outdoor furniture rose to 165 per cent.

Garden centres are seeing such an increase in sales it offsets their awful Easter weekend figures and pulls 2013 back up to 2012 numbers.

Tourism should also boom as traditional beach destinations of Brighton and Bournemouth expect each weekend to be jam-packed with sun-worshippers along the coastline.

Primark has also seen a boost in clothing sales under the sun as graphic t-shirts, print dresses, maxi dresses and skirts saw a "marked improvement".

It's not all positivity though as the hot sun has the potential to damage the high-street or shopping outlets as it becomes somewhat unbearable to venture around in the sun for too long around noon.

It's also had the reverse effect upon chocolate manufacturer Thorntons who have seen sales decline in the hot weather, but nowhere near previous years due to some improved store management.

There's also a strange hope that some Britain's obsession with national pride and the royal family will see sales rise as the royal baby could be born amid the heatwave – thus leading to street parties and general celebrations.

"Retailers will hope that the arrival of a royal baby will deliver a feel-good lift to sales this month, as consumers stock up on champagne and commemorative items,” said KPMG's head of retail, David McCorquodale to MSN News.

It should also turn around the fortunes of Coca-Cola who claim that the wet days in the US and Europe have scuppered it's profitable summer plans.


While we can't guarantee any September sun, this year's Customer Festival takes a look at the world of the high-street and online retail and how you can use customer data and loyalty to craft strong loyalty to your customer-centric business and brand.

You can download the show guide for free to get a taster of what's to come.

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[Image: Andrew Hasson]