The Jubilee holiday did not provide UK retailers with the expected sales uplift in June after wet weather dampened demand, official figures showed today (19 July).

UK retail sales were estimated to have risen by 1.9% during June, as volumes increased 1.6%, according to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics.

Compared to May, sales volumes increased 0.1% over the month, while sales by value were down 0.5%. 

Textile, clothing and footwear sales increased 1.2% by value, and 2.5% by volume, which was attributed to promotions and summer sales being brought forward due to the unseasonable weather. The estimated price of goods sold within these stores fell 3.5% compared to May 2012 and 0.3% compared with June 2011.

"The wettest June on record posed a major challenge for retailers," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"These figures confirm our own showing that there was only a mild-boost from the Jubilee but it did stop June being significantly worse. Our results show people splashed out during the few sunny days ahead of the long weekend but the extra bank holiday made little difference.

"The extent of the rain in recent months has largely drowned demand for summer goods. Retailers with unsold shorts, sandals or garden furniture are now pinning their hopes on a decent late spell of sunshine to clear space for autumn ranges."

According to Richard Hyman, strategic retail adviser to Deloitte, the retail figures "can primarily be attributed to the fall in inflation, coupled with the early arrival of the summer sales. These in turn have been driven by the unseasonal weather patterns forcing retailers to heavily discount summer stock."

He adds: "Whilst these figures paint an improving picture, the underlying climate within the retail sector remains extremely tough.

"The non-food sector has, for the past 25-30 years, been fuelled by volume growth as consumers bought more year-on-year. However, in recent times consumers have been buying less as disposable income has come under increasing pressure against a backdrop of rising prices.

"Lower inflation may offer some relief but this reversal cannot be overstated. The sector faces a fundamental challenge as it must adapt to the new consumer who is driven by value as opposed to volume."

Meanwhile Jon Copestake, retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, notes: "The Jubilee was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal period for retail. Weak underlying consumer sentiment has been compounded by an awful summer.

"The outlook is again dependent on the weather and the Olympics. Ernst & Young recently predicted an "Indian summer" for the UK economy and the Met office tentatively expect improving weather for August. Retailers will hope that both these forecasts are correct."