Scottish Retail Sales Monitor

Sprightlier Scottish Retail Sales But Shoppers Remain Cautious

David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium:

This is a sprightlier set of trading figures, coming during a month bookended at the start by the Jubilee celebrations and at the end by yet more disruption on the railways and with shopper footfall continuing to lag. Even when adjusted for the current higher level of shop price inflation, Scotland’s retailers turned in a positive performance in June.This was driven by the return of socialising and special occasions such as weddings and graduations, with sales of more formalwear and dresses doing well. Similarly, retailers got a lift from spending on the likes of sandals, swimwear and sunscreen as Scots got ready for their summer holidays. That said, there was further evidence of shopper caution as sales of larger ticket items such as furniture and electronic and electrical items were sluggish, despite further signs of improved stock availability on shop shelves.Whilst these more chipper results are pleasing the fact is one swallow does not make a summer. It will be a real challenge to sustain this improvement over the months ahead as retailers and consumers face into a multitude of headwinds including rising inflation, weak foot-traffic which will be exacerbated by further rail disruption, and a fitful economy.

Paul Martin, Partner, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:

June brought some welcome rays of sunshine for Scottish retailers as annual sales growth improved compared to June 2021. While last month’s figures provide some reasons to be cheerful, ultimately the impact of inflation means any growth is paltry and doesn’t signify any true shift in gear for the Scottish economy.   As the cost of living crisis continues to deepen, retailers face walking a fine line between protecting margins and further denting consumer confidence by passing on price rises whilst negotiating with their suppliers to share the cost increases. Cost and efficiency will dominate retailers’ agendas as they are forced to make some tough decisions on which products make it to the shelves in order to remain price competitive for consumers.  With warmer summer weather predicted and many consumers choosing to holiday at home this year, retailers will be hoping that the feel-good factor begins to improve confidence amongst some shoppers – as presently overall confidence levels are lower than sales may suggest.


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