Formal wear and theater tickets are back in the basket as events return, according to the latest retail data



According to new data, sales of smart clothing and cosmetics are on the rise as weddings and events return.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s Monthly Sales Monitor show that retail sales continued to rise last month, although bad weather hampered Main Street as shoppers stayed away.

Online sales remain strong with ceremonial and beauty wear sales particularly high as people prepared to venture out again after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted last month.

And separate data from Barclaycard revealed that entertainment spending rose for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with consumers purchasing tickets to theaters, movies and sporting events.

About one in four said they have also tapped into savings to make the most of life after the lockdown, with pubs, bars and clubs having a strong month.

Barclaycard found that consumers’ card spending rose 11.6% in July compared to the same period in 2019, including a 4.1% increase in fuel costs, the highest since before the pandemic in due to the rise in oil prices and the increase in the number of people traveling on vacation.

The entertainment industry grew by 8.1% and pubs, bars and clubs saw their sales increase by 30.5% compared to July 2019.

But on a two-year basis, before the pandemic, real-world store sales remain down 3.6% in comparison.

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Food sales remain growing, up 2.9% from a year ago, but have slowed as more consumers head to restaurants and cafes following the easing restrictions.

Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “July continued to see strong sales, although growth has started to slow.

“The lifting of restrictions did not provide the boost we expected in stores, as wet weather left shoppers reluctant to visit shopping destinations.

“Online sales have remained strong, and with the return of weddings and other social events for the summer calendar, formal wear and beauty have all started to see noticeable improvement, so fashion stores in particular have saw a rebound to pre-pandemic levels. “

She also warned that the number of empty stores continued to rise and shopping streets required additional investment, urging the government to implement sweeping changes in the pricing system of businesses.

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She said: “Retailers want to play their part in building a better future for local communities, and the government must give them the tools to do so.”

In the food and beverage sector, stores benefited from England’s strong performance in the Euro 2020 football tournament, although concerns remain over price inflation.

Susan Barratt, Managing Director of the Institute of Grocer Distribution (IGD), said: “Buyers are increasingly concerned about inflation in food and grocery prices, with 16% of shoppers expecting that the prices become much more expensive in the coming year, compared to only 8% of buyers in April.

Looking ahead, Paul Martin, UK retail manager at KPMG, said he expects consumer habits to slow down as economic challenges arise.

He said: “Pressures on staff, rising costs of commodities and components, rising inflation weighing on household purchasing power and slowing consumer confidence could lead to slower growth in the retail sector as fall approaches. “


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