Nov 19: Scottish Retail Sales Monitor
Some Festive Growth Beneath Black Friday Distortion
Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Head of Policy & External Affairs, Scottish Retail Consortium:
“Once adjustments for Black Friday are considered, retailers will be cautiously optimistic after a November which looks like it matched 2018. After a difficult autumn this provides a little hope for hard-pressed retailers as we head into the most important trading month of the year.
“Food sales continue to grow year on year, although we still believe inflation is the key contributor to that growth. Non-food sales grew by 1.1 percent, with smaller electrical goods and Christmas decorations doing well. However, there is still a concern cautious consumers are holding back from more expensive purchases; at least in part due to the volatile political climate.
“Retailers’ concerns about stretched consumer spending is being exacerbated by the risks of increasing public policy costs. Just last month Opposition MSPs voted in favour of localising business rates, a move that – if Northern Ireland is any guide - could raise the overall business rates burden by a fifth. With voters heading to the polls this week, we hope political leaders will prioritise the interests of consumers in the coming months by focusing on supporting households and keeping down costs for retailers.”
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:
“November’s figures make troubling reading, with a sharp decline in like-for-like sales of -5.2%, but it’s important to place the results into some context. If adjusted for the later timing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we would have actually witnessed a very modest growth of 0.1%.
“However, there’s no escaping the challenges facing Scottish retailers as uncertainty hangs over the economy. The sector is working tirelessly to regain lost ground, with the next few weeks crucial as the industry looks to deliver positive results in what for many is the most important trading period of the year.”