David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium:
“Sales in July slipped back slightly from the previous month’s stellar performance, but still saw a credible real terms rise of 1.4 per cent. Shoppers continued to enjoy the super summer weather; with gin, ice, and electric fans all selling well.
“Food sales were particularly strong, with the highest July figures for five years. Consumers continued to buy food for picnics and barbeques, along with summer drinks. On a three-month basis, Food sales were also stronger in Scotland than in the UK overall.
“Non-food sales were less impressive, falling back in line with the longer-term trend. That’s a little disappointing after a strong summer. Whilst it’s a little early to worry, this could be a warning light on the dashboard.
“With the European Championships in Glasgow and the Edinburgh Festival there are reasons to be optimistic for August’s sales. However, with interest rates rising, and household incomes continuing to be under strain, policy makers should continue to exercise caution when considering any further burdens on consumers.”
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:
“The summer shopping spree seems to have come to an end in July, with Scottish retail sales growing by only 0.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis. With demand for a new summer wardrobe satisfied in June, shoppers chose to cool-off away from the high street’s clothes retailers.
“Predictably, food and drink fuelled the majority of sales growth in July, with refreshing beverages and BBQ food the items of choice. Growth was also seen in electricals and electronics, with fans and air-conditioning units flying off the shelves.
“July’s performance provides a reminder that retailers need more than warm weather and well-timed sporting events to succeed. That being said, Scotland has a busy month ahead with Glasgow hosting the European Championships and with Edinburgh the Fringe Festival, and retailers will be hoping this leads to a much-needed sales boost.”