“Luck is what happens  when preparation meets opportunity”. So said Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

ice-creamAnd it appears forward thinking independent retailers have been having plenty of luck over the last few weeks after seeing a chance to capitalise on the recent spate of good weather.

In particular, summer staples such as ice cream and soft drinks have gone through the roof in stores that have prepared for a deluge of customers looking to escape from the heat.

Retailers I spoke to last month had been investing in larger freezers and driving to different cash and carries to keep ice cream stocks topped up, and had seen sales increases of up to 400%.

Market analyst EDFM also found this trend taking place around the UK, with sales of ice cream through local stores hitting the £6m mark during the middle of last month – equating to around £170 a shop.

And in this week’s issue, a regional wholesaler estimates that Coca-Cola sold an incredible eight million cases of its soft drinks across the UK in a week during the peak of the heatwave.

While this has been overwhelmingly positive news for the trade, some retailers feel manufacturers have not been as prepared and have missed a golden opportunity to increase profits further.

They point to Unilever, which this week admitted that “record breaking” demand for its ice creams has led to the company cancelling its cash and carry and supplier promotions, and has forced it to contact its other factories across Europe to maintain UK supplies.

With something as changeable as the weather, it is always going to be a difficult to predict how well certain seasonal lines will sell.

But with a bit more forethought and careful planning, FMCG firms can ensure that they, and retailers, can get even luckier next year.