Cooler conditions prompted food sales to fall in August following the hot weather surge that stores experienced in July, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.
When comparing July and August 2018, food stores were the only negative contributor towards Great Britain’s overall growth of 0.3% in the quantity bought, down by 0.6%.
However, the three months to August 2018 tell a different story, with food sales helping to drive the total 3.4% growth in quantity bought accrued by the four key retailing sectors over the period.
Food and household goods stores performed “well in the warm weather when compared with the previous summer, while non-store retailing continued to show strong growth,” the ONS said.
When comparing August 2018 with the previous year, all four main sectors contributed positively to the growth in both quantity bought and amount spent at 3.3 and 5.6 percentage points respectively.
The main contribution to the amount spent came from food stores at 1.8 percentage points, whereas the main contribution to the quantity of goods bought came from non-store retailing at 1.2 percentage points.
Spending online continued to increase to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2%; with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.4%.
ONS senior statistician, Rhian Murphy said: “Retail sales remained strong in the three months to August, with continued growth across all sectors. Food and household goods stores particularly benefitted from the warm weather when compared with last summer.
“The figures for the month of August were a little more mixed, with food sales falling after strong sales earlier in the summer and clothing sales declining following a strong July, as suggested by clothing retailers. On the other hand, household goods grew strongly.”