Non-food retailers could lose up to £80m per week in sales this September, if the summer’s heatwave returns in the autumn.
British retailers are preparing for a £320m hit to their collective bottom line in September, as predicted high temperatures torch their sales.
A report published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said warmer weather next month could cost non-food retailers up to £80m per week.
Based on Met Office analysis of weather data, the report concludes that there is a “clear relationship” between temperature and retail sales.
The impact is strongest from mid-August to early October, when warmer weather delays the purchase of autumn-winter ranges, it says.
Over that period, for each degree warmer it is than the previous year, growth in sales is reduces by 1.1%, equivalent to around £40m per week, according to the BRC.
But this summer has seen temperatures on average two degrees higher than in 2017 which, if it continues into September, will see non-food retailers hit to the tune of £80m per week.
High street fashion retailers, many of which have experienced challenges this year already, amid changing shopping habits, high rents and inadequate online operations, are likely to be bracing themselves for further sluggish sales as the extended hot weather dulls the demand for autumn and winter wear.
In addition to the impact of both hot and cold weather over the first half of the year, retailers have struggled with falling consumer confidence, soaring business rates and Brexit’s effect on inflation.
the House of Fraser retail chain owed £484m to creditors that included designers like Gucci, Armani and Diesel before the high street giant collapsed and was subsequently bought out of administration by Sports Direct.
Rachel Lund, the BRC’s head of insight and analytics, said: “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.
“The ability to understand and respond to unseasonable weather is clearly crucial for retailers wanting to thrive in today’s extremely competitive retail market.”
But the report also said that sales lost to unseasonable weather were largely recovered in the long term, once temperatures normalised.
The weather’s impact also differed across product categories, it said, with clothing and footwear sales negatively affected by warmer temperatures in the autumn, while women’s clothing sales were boosted by higher temperatures in the Spring.
Malcolm Lee, weather analytics manager for the Met Office, said: “Analyses of this type can’t predict ‘boom or bust’ for the high street based on our weather forecasts, but can offer business insight into how weather has impacted on sales in previous years.