Jubilee helps retail sales rise in June

British Retail Consortium says online sales of non-food items increased 12.1 per cent.
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Like-for-like UK retail sales grew 1.4 per cent in June thanks to the Queen’s Jubilee.

Comparatively, sales were down 0.6 per cent in June 2011. Meanwhile, overall sales rose 3.5 per cent in June 2012, against a 1.5 per cent rise the year prior.

The British Retail Consortium says the growth was due to the Jubilee and initial warm weather.

Food, drink, clothing and footwear all performed well, while big-ticket items ‘continued to struggle’, due to consumers’ ongoing caution about the economy, jobs and personal finances.

Online sales of non-food items rose 12.1 per cent, compared to growth of 11.5 per cent last year. 

British Retail Consortium’s director general Stephen Robertson 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 standout 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.

He added: "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.”

Helen Dickinson, KPMG’s head of retail, added: "Retailers are fervently hoping that the summer of sport will raise cash for their coffers. But the reality is that any benefit from the Olympics will probably be concentrated in the South East and provide more of a boost for food than non-food. 

“Overall there will be plenty of hype, a short term blip of benefit, and then back to normality and the challenges that brings.”

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