Heatwave sparks booming high street sales
THIS summer’s heatwave is believed to have sparked the biggest increase of spending in our shops since 2006.
The British Retail Consortium has reported a 2.2 per cent hike in sales during July compared with the previous year – and Cheltenham has been no exception.
Town centre manager Martin Quantock said shoppers had flocked to the shops to buy new clothes, food and the odd paddling pool during the sunshine.
He said: “The shops have reported good sales figures and good footfall and we believe that is because of the weather.
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“The message is the same here in Cheltenham as it is in the rest of the country.”
He added: “People have gone out and bought their summer clothes so the shops have done well.
“Food sales have also been particularly good as people have barbecues and make the most of the weather.
“After last year’s weather was particularly grim, some of the sales figures were a bit depressing last year.”
Mr Quantock believes Cheltenham town centre is faring well in comparison with other areas – particularly with TK Maxx expanding, River Island doing the same and BHS becoming a flagship store.
There is more good news for the town as well with H&M preparing to open in Regent Arcade next month.
He added: “The shops in Cheltenham are performing particularly well as we see the economy growing.”
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “This is a very solid sales performance, the second best month this year and better than we’ve seen in any July since 2006.
“It has been driven by the warm weather and retailers working hard to offer deep discounts and great offers to their customers, with the reduction in shop prices we reported for July translating into more generous spending in UK stores.
“Food has performed very strongly, with summer barbecue ingredients and feel-good foods doing well during a month where the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series all contributed to the positive summer feeling.
“Clothing has also had a very good month, which was down to good weather spurring summer fashion buys and some very good discounting.
“While we know the picture is still variable and the High Street in particular continues to face considerable challenges, these positive results will be welcomed in town centres around the country that depend so much on retailers performing well.”