HDTVs Among Top Sellers As UK Retail Sales Jump In June

Jonathan Sutton

Flat-panel HDTV sets were among the top selling items which helped boost retail sales in June according to the latest report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). On a like-for-like basis excluding new store openings, the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor revealed that retail sales in the United Kingdom was up 1.2% in June 2010 against the same month last year. On a total basis, sales rose 3.4% compared to 3.2% in June 2009. These results mark the fastest pace of growth since March.

Without doubt, the strong demand for televisions was fuelled primarily by the FIFA World Cup 2010 tournament held in South Africa. Tempted by promotional offers from TV makers and retailers alike, UK viewers snapped up flat-screen HDTVs in droves, though sales fizzled after England crashed out in the second round against Germany.

Tesco, the largest British retailer, certainly enjoyed a surge in sales of HDTV thanks to a well-timed World Cup marketing campaign, with the company reporting that sales of certain TVs more than doubled during this period. John Lewis, another prominent UK retailer, saw a similar pick-up in its technology sections propelled by the World Cup.

Moving on to consumer electronics retailers, DSG International – owner of Currys and Dixons – announced that sales of televisions in its UK stores surged by 40% in the month of May alone (ahead of the World Cup), helped in no small part by Curry’s “cash for goals” promotion. 50-inch HDTV screens priced around £800 were particularly popular, bringing in the most cash some weeks. Buoyed by such strong results in TV sales, it’s no wonder that DSG reported a 61% rise in underlying pre-tax profits for the year to 1 May.

Catalogue retailer Argos unfortunately experienced contrasting fortunes with the aforementioned retailers, admitting that demand for TV sets this time around was way behind that seen during the run-up to World Cup 2006. The company, which remains the biggest seller of TVs in Britain, saw a drop in like-for-like sales of 8.1% in the 13 weeks preceding 29 May.