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RIVER levels running dangerously low, water rationing, wildfires, a winter of blackouts.
It’s enough to make you hit the local beach in a brand-new bikini.
Amid all the dire warnings, from climate change to the cost of living, Brits are making the most of the soaring temperatures – and spending accordingly.
This summer isn’t turning out to be such a bummer for retailers, consumer goods companies and the hospitality industry.
Total retail sales in the United Kingdom rose 2.3% in July from the year earlier, a big improvement from the 1% decline in June, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG (although taking inflation into account could mean the volume of goods sold actually fell).
Clothing and footwear were big contributors. Next Plc said last week that sunny weather in June and July drove demand for summer staples.
That, combined with consumers’ desire to get dressed up again, meant sales were stronger than expected.
Perhaps people also took inspiration from their favourite TV series. Much of this season of Love Island coincided with the extreme heat.
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Contestants’ skimpy outfits and sun-kissed beauty styles may be even more appealing if it feels like Mallorca outside.
Brits have also been stocking up on the things they need to cool off, such as fans, rose wine, lightweight duvets and sheets, and paddling pools.
The picture for the hospitality industry is more mixed. Drink sales at pubs, bars and restaurants rose in July as temperatures climbed, according to data provider CGA by NielsenIQ.
On July 18, they were 9% higher than they were on the same day in 2019. But the following day, when temperatures in the country exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, sales fell as people avoided travel and ate at home.
Opting to stay indoors could partly explain why food retailers have also benefited from the heat.
If Brits choose to dine in their back gardens, they may trade up to a more expensive bottle of wine or purchase more premium supermarket brands, even amid the broader switch to cheaper products.
Barbecues also increase demand for fresh food, such as steaks, sausages and salad, which tend to be more profitable for grocers. (Waste also increases, especially if supermarket freezers malfunction.)
And let’s not forget other hot weather treats. Ice cream and fresh fruits – think of those strawberries, cherries and blueberries – are having a bumper season.
That’s good news for grocers, but also ice-cream manufacturers such as Magnum maker Unilever Plc.