In July there was growth across all categories except food as the poor weather hit grocery sales, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail sales Monitor.
Food - Down
Cooler spells meant shoppers shunned summer lines and barbecue foods, which usually prove popular at this time of year.
Soft comparatives last year have masked underlying weakness in this month’s figures. The BRC and KPMG predict that persistent deflation and low inflation will continue to hold back top-line growth within grocery for the rest of the year.
Clothing - Up
Consumers reacted well to Sales and promotions despite the July weather being cooler, wetter and having fewer hours of sunshine than this time last year. Some retailers have delayed their sales compared to the previous year, resulting in Sales creeping into July.
Men’s and children’s clothing recorded the highest levels of growth due to strong sell through of marked-down items. It is also believed that back-to-school sales have picked up earlier than usual
Sales of womenswear were much tougher and fell short of positive growth, holding back overall growth in the clothing sector.
Footwear - Up
Footwear was the third fastest-growing category after strong sales across men’s, women’s and children’s categories. Boots traded well across all ranges as a result of the cooler temperatures. Women’s footwear recorded the fastest growth across all categories but was boosted by soft comparisons last year.
Health and beauty - Up
Health and beauty was one of the poorest performing categories in July. Retailers attributed it to consumers becoming even more price-conscious in an increasingly competitive market with promotions and multi-buys needed to stimulate demand.
Suncare products performed well despite the poor weather in the UK as families prepared for summer holidays abroad.
Furniture - Up
Furniture has continued its momentum as growth ranked the highest across all categories. Housing sales have been boosted by an increase in mortgage approvals and this is expected to continue in the coming months.
House textiles - Up
House Textiles was the second fastest growing category due to a revitalised housing market and a good response to promotions.
Toys and baby equipment - Up
The start of the school summer holiday period boosted toy sales but cooler weather compared to last year is likely to have dampened demand.
Household appliances - Up
When Easter distortions are excluded, household appliances grew at the slowest rate since the BRC created a separate category for such products in November 2014.
Jewellery and watches - Up
Conversely, jewellery and watches enjoyed robust growth in July and rose at the fastest rate since the category’s inception in November 2014 following increases in disposable income.
Other non-food - Up
Modest demand in electricals held back growth within the overall ‘other non-food’ category. The sluggish sales came against a backdrop of soft comparisons last year, which occurred due to the World Cup bringing forward electricals sales into June 2014 as consumers rushed to buy high definition TVs to watch the action.
Leisure goods were boosted by new books such as Grey and Go Set a Watchman. Books recorded their strongest growth since April 2008.
DIY and gardening had a good month after a strong finish as the weather took a turn for the better at the end of the month.