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UK shoppers avoid high street during hot weather, but update summer wardrobes

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

14 Aug 2018

Retail

UK shoppers have taken to the outdoors in July, soaking up the season’s hot weather. While high street foot flow fell 0.8 percent and shopping malls 3.4 percent there was still a margin of growth of 0.3 percent.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive British Retail Consortium said in a press release: “The hot, dry weather in July turned consumers’ attentions to eating, drinking and enjoying the outdoors. That provided a small lift for high streets as shoppers popped out to grab food, drink and fans to keep cool. However, the heat sapped shoppers’ stamina for longer trips with both retail parks and shopping centres seeing footfall sink.”

"Aside from short-term weather impacts, there’s no escaping the fact that retail is changing. With fewer people visiting physical stores and fewer purchases being made there, at the same time as costs are going up year on year, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing many retailers reduce their store portfolios. As shops close we need new businesses to emerge to reinvent the nation’s high streets. But that cannot happen if the burden of business rates they face continues to rise year on year, which is why we’re calling for a freeze in business rates in the Chancellor’s next Budget.”

According to Barclaycard, consumer spending rose 5.0 per cent year-on-year in July, marking the third consecutive month of growth above 5 per cent. The long spell of warm weather boosted sales of women’s clothing, with spend increasing 4.5 per cent – the strongest rise since January 2016 – as shoppers updated their summer wardrobes. Online shopping for fashion saw a 11.7 percent increase in womenswear and 3.8 percent for men’s. Menswear in-store purchases saw a decline of 1.8 percent.

Barclaycard data covers nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions. The company said its data shows despite a willingness to spend on summer treats while the good weather lasts, shoppers remain cautious about the broader economic picture with confidence in household finances dropping six percentage points from June to 59 per cent last month.

Photo credit: Barclaycard