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The UK had a heatwave and here’s what they bought

What do consumers buy in a heatwave? Thanks to the hot UK summer weather this week, retail data reveals off-shoulder, floral and stripes.
The UK had a heatwave and here’s what they bought | EDITED

In case your UK friends didn’t tag themselves in quite enough sun-loving snaps this week: they had a heatwave.

Yes, temperatures climbed beyond 89F/32C in London on Tuesday. Here’s what happens in retail when the UK hots up. (New York, take note – we know you’ve got a heatwaveheat dome‘ headed your own way this weekend…)

We all feel a little nautical

Nothing says bright ‘n’ breezy like a blue and white stripe. Whether consumers were actually heading to the seaside or just feeling the Riviera vibes in the city, these classic summer prints all sold well as the sun shone.

Shoulders fall out of garments

It’s the signature trend of the summer and when temperatures soared, seemingly everyone in the UK wanted in. Nearly 100 shoulder-exposing products sold out in the UK alone last week, with tops slightly ahead of dresses. Topshop scored with a trend trio: a Bardot shoulder, ruffle detailed body. Who said trends are dead?

Even if you didn’t pick up an off-shoulder top or dress while the country basked, there’s still time to invest in the trend. Over 400 new off-shoulder and Bardot style products have been added at UK retailers in the last week, including some winter knitwear making sure the trend makes it into the new season.

Men buy florals

Everyone’s feeling totally tropical and retailers with holiday florals for gents scored. From the laid-back Hawaiian shirts to the striking floral beach pants at ASOS, these items all sold out in the last week.

Retailers are fast to react

The opportunity to shop these days is only as far away as our pockets. Consumers buy on smartphones in line with their real-time wants and needs. Retailers have the opportunity to make their communication hyper-relevant to shoppers and weather is just one way they can do it. But that’s not easy – it takes slick internal processes and responsive e-commerce and marketing teams, which is hard in a large organisation with many channels.  Here’s a selection of retailers who were able to get their newsletters’ content to reflect the sudden weather turn. Good work guys!

  • All Saints with the subject line: Handle the heat
  • Kids Cavern with: HEATWAVE HAUTE COUTURE: Shop Now On Our Top Summer Picks
  • Dorothy Perkins with: Hot, hot, hot! 25% OFF summer offer

And when sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan

Large retailers queue their content – it’s hard work being incredibly agile when you’ve got stores around the world, need sign-off with an overseas HQ or have expensive new stock arriving into warehouse. The following retailers chose to look the other way while the UK melted, instead promoting winter wares. Oi Polloi even went as far as saying “Yep, this Universal Works stuff may look a bit unseasonal, but he who acquires autumnal gear in the summer shall always be prepared.” We like your optimism!

What do people buy when it’s too hot to even wear clothes? #heatwave #hotretail