Record-breaking temperatures turn up the heat for UK retailers

New data reveals that last week’s heatwave sent consumers into a spin – and straight to the high street with independent retailers reporting a 11 per cent increase in sales.

This week’s heatwave has sent the UK into a spin – and straight to the shops according to data from retail platform Vend.

Looking at a sample of 1,500 independent retail stores, Vend’s figures show that from Saturday 17th June when heatwave temperatures began, to their peak on Wednesday 21st, retail sales increased by 11 per cent compared to the same time period last year. Overall retail spending increased by 14 per cent.

Showing a direct correlation between temperature levels and spend, when the mercury peaked at record highs around the country on Wednesday retail spending also spiked – with a 18 per cent increase compared to the same day last year.

Food and drink retailers fared the best during the heatwave as people flocked outdoors to enjoy the weather, with a 25 per cent increase in spend compared to last year. This was followed by health and beauty retailers (20 per cent increase), perhaps as sun-seekers stocked up on sun protection and skin products. According to Vend’s data, cafes and restaurants had an 11 per cent increase in spending compared to the same time last year, while fashion and apparel stores saw spend drop by 5 per cent.

In the regions, Birmingham saw the biggest heatwave boost, with local retailers experiencing a 74 per cent increase in spending as temperatures jumped around 33 per cent higher than the year before. Edinburgh shoppers spent 40 per cent more than the same time last year, while Manchester also saw spend heat up by 28 per cent.

‘It won’t be news to anyone who has tried to buy a fan in the last week that this heatwave has seen retail sales rise along with temperatures. And independent retailers aren’t complaining – well, not about the sales at least!’ says Marc Cooper, country manager, EMEA, Vend.

Heatwave retail spend YoY increase by region

Birmingham: 74 per cent
Edinburgh: 40 per cent
Manchester: 28 per cent
Bristol: 21 per cent
Brighton: 14 per cent
London: 12 per cent
Leeds: -1 per cent

Heatwave retail spend YoY increase by vertical

Food & drink: 25 per cent
Health & beauty: 20 per cent
Cafes & restaurants: 11 per cent
Sports and hobbies: 3 per cent
Home & lifestyle: no difference
Fashion & apparel: -5 per cent

Further reading on retailers

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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