Retail sales grew 3.4% in the second quarter of the year according to the latest report by Retail Ireland

The arrival of June’s heatwave “a good news story” for certain retail categories, such as grocery, DIY and hardware. But, for some retailers, the heat led to a decline in footfall as consumers were more inclined to headed to the park or the beach rather than the shops.

Supermarkets and convenience stores were some of the biggest winners, with the volume of sales up 5.5% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2017. The good weather boosted the purchase of treats and “little and often” shopping and increase demand for barbecues, garden furniture and ice-cream, but hot weather also put people off shopping,

The Fifa World Cup, while not as lucrative as it might have been if Ireland had qualified, also contributed to strong sales of alcohol, soft drinks and party food sales in June, said Retail Ireland, a Ibec representative group for the retail industry.

Strong demand for gardening products, outdoor furniture and barbecue products benefitted DIY and hardware stores, which saw sales volumes rocket 10.2% year-on-year in the second quarter.

According to Retail Ireland, it was a “solid” quarter for Irish pharmacies, with the weather driving strong demand for hay fever treatments and suncare products. However, beauty sales slowed for the same reason.

“While many retail categories have been boosted by the long dry spell, other sectors such as department stores, fashion, footwear and hairdressing have reported lower than normal footfall and declining sales in the period,” said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke. Cinema tickets, homewares and sales of electrical items and computers were also negatively affected, he added.

Women’s clothing sales were hurt by both lower footfall in June and consistently cold weather in April and May, the industry group said. Despite this, department stores have still managed a 4.1% rise in the volume of sales year-on-year, while fashion, footwear and textiles saw the volume of sales rise 2.

Stores in the wider books, newspapers and stationery business recorded a 5.9 per cent lift in sales volumes in the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 2017, with the books market also performing well.