A British supermarket is blaming wet weather for ‘pretty dire’ sales of barbecues and paddling pools

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  • A British supermarket is blaming bad weather for disappointing sales of summer products.
  • Sainsbury’s suffered a 3.1% drop in sales of general merchandise and a 4.5% drop in clothing sales in the 16 weeks t0 June 29.
  • “The weather was very unhelpful” and resulted in “pretty dire” sales of paddling pools and barbecues, management said.
  • Sainsbury’s was barred by regulators from merging with Walmart-owned rival ASDA earlier this year.
  • Watch Sainsbury’s trade live.

A British supermarket is blaming bad weather for disappointing sales of everything from barbecues and paddling pools to t-shirts and swimsuits.

Sainsbury’s, which was barred by regulators from merging with Walmart-owned rival ASDA earlier this year, suffered a 3.1% drop in sales of general merchandise in the 16 weeks t0 June 29. The decline was driven by weakness in “key seasonal categories such as outdoor toys, garden furniture, gardening equipment and barbecues,” said CFO Kevin O’Byrne on the company’s latest earnings call, adding “the weather was very unhelpful.”

Clothing sales also dropped 4.5%, leaving the group with a bunch of unsold stock, as “it rained this year and it was sunny last year,” said CEO Mike Coupe on the call.

Even the heatwave last week, when temperatures surged to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, failed to reverse “pretty dire” sales of paddling pools and barbecues, Coupe said. “Last week the weather was actually not unhelpful, but even then we sold about a third of the paddling pools that we did the previous year.”

Argos, a catalog retailer acquired by Sainsbury’s in 2016, wasn’t able to capitalize on impulse summer purchases either.

“If you want a swimming pool, if you want a fan, you want it now and the Argos machine is very, very good at delivering that,” Coupe said, but “the absence of some half-decent weather has clearly been a drag on the business.”