Queen’s Jubilee gave retailers ‘bunting boost’

Monthly figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that sales, on a like-for-like basis, increased by 1.4 per cent compared with June last year. Total sales, taking into account new store openings, increased by 3.5 per cent reports The Telegraph.

The figures prove that June was not the total washout that many retailers have suggested. Marks & Spencer is expected to blame the wet weather for very pool clothing sales today [TUE], while yesterday [MON] JJB said the wettest June on record was partly to blame for it issuing a profit warning.

Stephen Robertson, the director general, of the BRC, said: “It was the bunting boost. June was saved by the feelgood lift of the Jubilee, showing how crucial these temporary factor are in our difficult trading conditions.”

However, he warned that after the Jubilee festivities, there were signs that consumers tightened their belts, echoing comments from supermarket groups, who have said that shoppers are saving up ahead of big events and then retrenching once again.

The outlook, however tough, is not getting worse, economists say. Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight said: “It is also possible that a recent easing of the squeeze on consumers’ purchasing power supported sales in June. Reduced petrol prices and an easing back in annual food inflation is freeing up a little more money for discretionary purchases.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, the supermarket research body, said: “The first week of June was the second biggest food and grocery sales period of the year after the Easter week, with alcohol selling particularly well. But the record rainfall meant this boost fizzled out as the month progressed. England doing a little better than expected in Euro 2012 did not seem to help.