Maintaining the 10% growth in suncare we reported in 2013 was always a tall order. Add the unreliable British weather to the equation, and it was nigh-on impossible.

Sure enough, in 2014 the mercury failed to hit the heights it had reached a year earlier, and the suncare category slipped back into decline. The return of the traditional British summer, which got off to a balmy start in June but then cooled in time for the school holidays in July, contributed to a 5.1% fall to £188.2m on volumes down 2.5% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 4 January 2015].

But are the sector’s ills really all down to the damp squib of a summer? What else affected sales? And with average prices falling and the discounters taking growing share of the market, what’s the forecast for the coming year?