Indian summer could cost UK retail £320m in September

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Non-food retailers should be braced to lose up to £80 million per week in sales for September if the heatwave continues.

While an Indian Summer would be welcome news for plenty of British consumers, retailers are preparing for the worst, as bottom lines take the hit from the rising temperatures.

In a joint study conducted by the Met Office and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the results found there was a “clear relationship” between temperature and sales, adding that the impact is strongest from mid-August to early October, when warmer weather holds customers off from beginning to purchase their autumn and winter clothing.

During that time, the BRC posited that for each degree warmer it is than the previous year, growth in sales reduces by 1.1 per cent, or £40 million a week.

Temperatures this autumn are expected to be two degrees higher than the same time a year before, resulting in the £80 million knock to sales.

“While few in the retail industry would deny that the weather impacts how we shop, the fact that this study reveals that its impact can be large and changeable only serves to highlight some of the complexity retailers have to navigate in serving consumers,” said BRC head of insight and analytics Rachel Lund.

“The ability to understand and respond to unseasonable weather is clearly crucial for retailers wanting to thrive in today’s extremely competitive retail market,” she added.

Lund also noted that the lost sales are often recoverable later in the season, when temperatures normalise.

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