"Summer? What summer?" is the general thought for 2007. What we will remember is the flooding that devastated businesses and displaced communities in some parts of the country.

At Birds of Derby, we were very fortunate; when the heavy rain came, we just had one shop that it became impossible to deliver to, due to flooding outside the town. When the sun arrived in August, foot-and-mouth raised its ugly head, causing more anxiety.

Putting all those issues to one side, our sales performance was in line with expectations; during the second quarter (covering weeks 14 to 25) our like-for-like sales rose by 4.4% and we experienced positive sales in our core product range, along with an increase in actual customer transactions. The last 10 weeks’ like-for-like sales were up by 5.9%.

It’s a fact; weather conditions do influence the weekly trading pattern. If you cast your mind back to 2006, when we had good sunny weather week after week, customers adjusted their shopping patterns.

When it’s hot and sunny, we may not sell a lot of cream cakes, confectionery lines and coffees, but we will sell more bread and bread rolls, sandwiches and cool drinks.

We have to compensate for this by ensuring we calculate the shops’ orders correctly, to meet our customers requirements.