The 'barbecue summer' promised by weathermen last year finally arrived 12 months late, bringing a very welcome boost to convenience retailers.

The high temperatures towards the end of last month (predicted in C-Store, June 11) combined with early summer sporting events to push demand for chilled drinks and barbecue foods to above last year's levels.

"The heatwave has been an absolute blessing and made a real difference to us just when we needed it," said Mike Boyce of Daisy Fresh and Essential in Wolverhampton. "We have exactly the type of product mix that benefits from any upturn in the weather, with a deli, fruit and vegetables and also a butchers counter which specialises in BBQ food. Our alcohol sales also went through the roof."

Dennis Williams of Broadway Star Supermarket in Edinburgh said the weather had encouraged more people to walk to shops and had "a spectacular impact" on sales and footfall. "It's also lifted the whole working environment as everyone, staff and customers, just smiles more," he added.

"Ice cream and soft drinks showed a massive increase during the warm weather. Our wholesaler Booker was able to deliver twice a week so we didn't run out," said Bob Gibson of Premier in Basingstoke, Hants.

One Scottish retailer told C-Store he had to ensure that chillers were constantly restocked with bottled water and the stock rotated regularly as "no one wants to drink warm water in this heat".

"Neglecting this is a mistake that could really cost you repeat custom," he warned..

The spike in some categories was balanced by falls in others, however. "I've noticed that confectionery sales have dropped. People don't want chocolate when it gets hot," said Sarah Tarrant of The Corner Shop in Bournemouth, Dorset.

The Met Office predicts dry and warm weather during the second half of July and into the start of August, with many places seeing temperatures above normal for the time of year.