Is this summer?
Posted by Paul Hargreaves on
I know it is one of the more annoying British habits to talk about the weather, but it is difficult not to when it affects our businesses
June was one of our worst months for a long-time, but I honestly believe that this is more down to the persistent rain than underlying economic food conditions affecting food sales. Despite the weather in July only being slightly better, we were back up to our normal growth levels at over 20% year-on-year, so this would seem to back me up!
The Independent on-line quoted June as being the worst month for food sales for over 25 years, so at least we are not alone! The bad weather was exacerbated by lots of shops and consumers stocking up for the long Jubilee weekend, which was then a wash-out, so the barbeques and parties either didn’t’ happen or were poorly attended due to the atrocious weather.
I stand by what I said earlier this year, that 2012 feels much easier than 2011, which I was quoted as describing as “like wading through treacle”. Our advanced Christmas sales seem to back this up, with our order book being jammed with orders and most retailers ordering correspondingly more than they did with us last year. This may partly be due to our having a better range than last year (which we do!:) but I like to think there is more confidence out there in the market. The fall in the Euro verses Sterling has certainly helped with the EC goods which are less expensive than last year.
There has been talk this week of how retailers, cafes and restaurants away from the Olympic areas have been badly affected by the Olympics, which was meant to be bringing a boost to trading not only in London but also the rest of the UK. Several London shops were on the radio the other day saying trading was 30% down. The Olympic minister has told them “they should have been better prepared” – very helpful! The Minister for Culture has said “short-term pain for longer term gain” – also not quite what they were saying before the Olympics began! It seems that the main food businesses to benefit from the Olympics are Coco-Cola and McDonalds – those two bastions of healthy-eating. Not only that but the employees and guests of these companies are rubbing by noses in it by not even turning up for their free seats at Olympic events, making those of us that ordered tickets and received none feel even worse!
Enjoy your week!