Weather and retail sales are not clearly linked, according to a paper by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Research showed there were few consistent patterns between sales and temperatures or weather events in the last ten years.  

The research plotted retail sales against monthly temperatures relative to the average historical temperatures for the month.

The ONS said: “In terms of the retail sectors sensitivity to the weather, past periods show a mixed picture with no clear relationship between the two.”

For example, the ONS said that from June to July 2007 rainfall was close to double the long-term average but retail sales “remained resilient”. And in March 2013, the coldest since 1962, when significant snow fell stores selling automotive fuel did not report a large decrease. Additionally, sales fell again in April 2013 despite more moderate temperatures.

It also looked at “severe weather events” such as the floods in July 2007 and the heavy snow in 2013.  

The ONS added: “In general, only sustained extreme weather conditions can have a substantial impact upon the UK economy as a whole. The only weather event in recent years to be designated as a statistical special event by ONS was the widespread heavy snow and extremely low temperatures in December 2010.”

The ONS defines a statistical special event as those that do not have a regular cycle and have a clear impact on statistics.

The news will come as a blow to retailers such as Marks & Spencer who blamed their disappointing third quarter on poor fashion sales due to the unseasonably warm weather in October.