Hot weather and British sporting success boosted food sales in July

Food and drink achieved its best July sales performance for five years, according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium’s retail sales monitor.  

The summer heatwave, sporting events and the arrival of Prince George helped drive sales of food and drink, with three-month average food sales growth turning positive for only the second time this year, at 1.3% (adjusted for food price inflation).  

The 12-month average still remains negative, at -0.1%, but July saw the best food growth since the BRC survey began in November 2009, barring Christmas and Easter distortions, the organisation said.

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“The sustained summer heatwave and British sporting success helped food and drink sales achieve their best July performance for five years. The middle two weeks of the month were particularly strong, with supermarkets reporting a big increase in the sale of burgers, sausages and other barbecue-related food,” said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.

“July’s strong food and drink data, together with the positive GDP figures, are among various signs pointing to growing optimism. Our ShopperVista research shows 60% of shoppers expect their personal economic circumstance to improve or stay the same, compared to 52% a year ago.”

Like-for-like retail sales in July across all categories were up 2.2% on a year ago. On a total basis, sales were up 3.9% - almost double the growth seen in July 2012 and the best July performance since 2006.

Sales of champagne, beer and drinks, salads, summer fruits, ice cream and barbecue foods were all driven by the warmest summer in seven years.

“Sales of food and drink soared as consumers popped open the bubbly and held barbecues to celebrate the royal family’s newest arrival, Murray’s Wimbledon triumph and the warm delights of summer,” added KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale.