Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Head of Policy and External Affairs, Scottish Retail Consortium:
“Scottish Retail sales grew for the fifth consecutive month in September, increasing in real-terms by 0.7 per cent. Food continues to be the strongest performer, with further evidence consumers are limiting their discretionary spend as Scots returned to work following the summer break. We are now seeing the second month of consecutive shop price inflation and it’s likely wider economic pressures will continue to impact on both the industry and our customers.
“Food sales performed very credibly at 3.7 percent, albeit with inflation driving some of that rise. Customers have moved away from the more spontaneous approach of the summer, focusing on more warming meals as the mercury starts to dip. However, non-food sales continue to struggle as cautious consumers stay away from the High Street.
“With the UK Government Budget coming later this month, retailers will be hoping the Chancellor takes steps to help hard pressed shops and shoppers alike. With both the political and economic environment being so volatile and unpredictable right now, it’s definitely not the time to put up taxes or costs.”
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:
“Like-for-like retail sales in September were down 0.2 per cent compared to this time last year, mirroring the UK-wide trend.
“As we’ve come to expect, food sales increased in September – albeit at a slower rate – while non-food categories performed poorly, in spite of a number of clearance sales and back-to-school promotions. End-of-line sales were out of sync with September’s wet weather, meaning fewer purchases for sunnier times.
“However, there was welcome relief for electronics retailers, thanks to a number of highly-anticipated game releases in September.
“The final few months of the year can be a double-edged sword for many retailers, as they need to entice shoppers on Black Friday and in the run up to Christmas, whilst avoiding overly generous promotional offers which can add further pressure to already squeezed profit margins.”