Phew! What a scorcher

Rising temperatures lead to butchers' best sales in 30 years

Scorching weather has led to one of the best weekends for meat sales in years, with one butcher describing it as the best trading week in 30 years.

Howard Callaghan, owner and partner of G Callaghan and Son in Maghull Central Square in Liverpool, said sales had been phenomenal and last week were up 25% on an average week and 10% up on the shop's previous record-breaking period.

Other independent UK butchers also smashed previous barbecue sales figures last week and the big multiple retailers were also reporting best ever barbecue meat sales.

Sainsbury's said sales on its barbecue range of meats, excluding burgers and sausages, were up 146% compared with the same period last year. Kebabs alone saw rises of 156%, a spokesman said.

Asda also recorded its best barbecue sales week ever, with a 69% increase on last year. A spokesman for Asda said sausage sales were up by 94%, beefburger sales up by 67% and chicken thighs, drums and legs also sold well.

Speaking for Waitrose, Gill Smith said total barbecue sales had increased by 95% compared to last year. A total of 1.3m kebabs were sold last week, beefburger sales were up by 113% year-on-year and sausage sales increased by 22% compared to the same period last year.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "It really was the best barbecue week we have had. Sales of barbecue meat and poultry last week were up 20% on our previous record week."

Callaghan said the barbecue rush started in the middle of last week and on Saturday people were queuing outside the shop from 8.30am until 12.30pm and after the England football team had played their first World Cup match.

He said: "By half way through Thursday we knew we were in trouble and we were working until 8.45pm on the Friday night making products for the Saturday. It was so hectic on Saturday, I had seven people serving and five making products. We made 2,500 kebabs in total."

John Richardson, of Richardson's Fine Foods, which has stores in Buckinghamshire and in Ealing, London, said preparation was key when it came to the busy barbecue period.

"If you know the weather's going to be good you can get stuff ready and be prepared for the rush. That's where you score over the large supermarkets - you can react that much more quickly to a changing situation." His South Ealing shop had experienced its best ever turnover last week, outside of the Christmas week.

Graham Burroughs, of Jesse Smith Butchers in Marlborough, Wiltshire, also reported a record weekend, selling out of most barbecue products by 2pm. He said: "We took half again of what we would normally take in a week."

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