Reports

Oct 19: Scottish Retail Sales Monitor

Discounts Arrive to Kick-Start Non-Food

David Lonsdale, Driector, Scottish Retail Consortium:

“This is a sprightly set of results for October, highlighting a more broadly based pick-up in demand across retail sub-sectors. This was buoyed by exceptional discounting as retailers’ used keen prices and promotions to successfully drive footfall and demand, particularly on winter coats and heavier footwear. It also points to the volatility of retail market conditions at the moment, following a slew of poor months. 

“The non-food category overall recorded its strongest performance for five years. While fashion led the way, beds, home textiles and kitchen ware did well, as did sales of mobile phones and televisions. Grocery items fared well too, in line with the average seen over recent months. That said, if customers continue to hold out for steep discounts that will put severe pressure on retailers’ already thin profit margins.

“Overall these figures strike a more optimistic note at the start of the crucial ‘golden quarter’ trading period that leads up to Christmas. However, a big question remains over the future direction of consumer spending. The coming weeks and months will be dominated by the general election, Brexit and UK and Scottish budgets. Retailers will be hoping policy-makers keep consumer confidence and household disposable incomes uppermost in their minds.”

 

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:

“After a particularly challenging and prolonged period of uncertainty, the latest figures provide some reassurance and confidence. With total sales increasing by 1% compared to October 2018, we’re finally witnessing a return to growth.

 

“The next few months will be crucial for Scotland’s high streets, as shoppers prepare for the festive spending period. A focused effort from retailers has laid the foundations for a positive quarter. Naturally, we need to acknowledge the wider political and economic uncertainty, which continues to hold back growth opportunities. But, a positive turnaround in the figures will provide a welcome relief for the industry as a whole, and offers an injection of cautious optimism.”

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