Retailers and suppliers have welcomed Met Office predictions that the UK is "odds-on for a barbecue summer".

"After two wet summers, the signs are much more promising this year," said chief meteorologist Ewen McCallum. "We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30°C - something we hardly saw at all last year."

He said the UK was likely to be warmer and drier than average from June to the end of August, although some heavy downpours were expected.

After bottled water sales suffered last year due in part to the wettest summer on record, Danone Waters was upbeat about the latest news.

"The three months from June to August account for a massive 35% of annual water sales," a spokesman said. "The news that this summer could be hot is obviously great for us and we hope retailers will keep shelves fully stocked."

Booker retail sales director Steve Fox claimed warmer weather would "drive footfall and sales into local stores".

"More people are due to stay in this country for holidays this summer due to the economic climate, which presents a great opportunity for independent retailers to capture these sales," he added.