Music festivals have become as much as part of the British summer as Wimbledon and Royal Ascot. While organisers benefit hugely from ticket sales, it is arguable that the real winners in the festival season are retailers as demand for clothing and essentials soars ahead of popular events such as Download, Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury.
Certainly, Glastonbury has proven to be very profitable for upmarket chain Waitrose this year which recorded a boost in sales in motorway service station concessionary stores. Items such as dry shampoo, antibacterial wipes and travel-size toiletries flew off the shelves as festival-goers made their way to Somerset and stopped for last minute essentials.
The supermarket chain reported a like for like sales increase of 22 per cent in stores based within Welcome Break service stations when compared to last year’s figures. Antibacterial handwipes played a huge role in this, with units sold up by a staggering 262 per cent, and dry shampoo added to this with a sales boost of 30 per cent.
However, it is not just Glastonbury festival which has contributed to Waitrose’s good fortunes, as the beautiful weather over the past week or so has coaxed consumers into firing up their barbecues. Charcoal sales across the chain’s supermarkets increased by 30 per cent when compared with last year, while popular barbecue foods such as sausages and beefburgers rose by 18.5 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
Strawberries and champagne have also experienced a period of extreme popularity in the past few week, with Andy Murray’s success at Wimbledon no doubt being toasted nationwide. Finally, summer favourite Pimms is also enjoying its moment in the sun, with sales increasing by 90 per cent as shoppers prepare for a much more pleasant summer than the washout of last year.
Waitrose’s supply chain director, David Jones, linked positive consumer behaviour to the appearance of the sun.
He said; “The weather has a huge impact on what customers buy – historically, we’ve benefited from periods of hotter weather.”
With festival season still in full swing, it is almost certain that supermarket chains will continue to experience a much-welcomed increase in essentials sales for some time yet. Hopefully the sun will light up the retail industry and drive consumers on to the high street, allowing smaller retailers to equally benefit from the boost in consumer confidence currently being enjoyed by their larger counterparts.
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