Belated festive spending boosts Scottish retail sales
Belated festive spending has increased retail sales in Scotland in the four weeks to the 26th of November, according to the latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.
Total sales in Scotland increased by 8.0% compared with November 2021, when they had grown 2.6%. This was above the three-month average increase of 6.9% and below the 12-month average growth of 16.5%. Adjusted for inflation, the year-on-year change was 0.6%.
The monitor also indicated that Scottish sales increased by 5.5% on a Like-for-like basis compared with November 2021, when they had increased by 1.8%. This is above the 3-month average increase of 4.5% and below the 12-month average growth of 13.0%.
Total Food sales increased by 12.5% versus November 2021, when they had decreased by 2.2%. November was above the 3-month average growth of 10.9% and the 12-month average growth of 4.2%. The 3-month average was above the UK level of 5.8%.
At the same time, Total Non-Food sales increased by 4.2% in November compared with November 2021, when they had increased by 6.7%. This was above the 3-month average increase of 3.6% and below the 12-month average of 26.7%.
Adjusted for the estimated effect of Online sales, Total Non-Food sales increased by 4.0% in November versus November 2021, when they had decreased by 7.5%. This is above the 3-month average growth of 2.2% and below the 12-month average of 19.3%.
Ewan MacDonald Russell, deputy head of the SRC, said: “There was a small but welcome boost to Scottish retail sales in November as shoppers took advantage of discounts to belatedly begin their Christmas shopping. Sales rose by 0.6% in real terms as consumers took advantage of the plethora of deals around Black Friday.
“Food sales hit a record high of 12.5 percent, an inevitable consequence of record food price inflation. Non-food sales were boosted by sales of colder-weather clothing as winter started to bite, and early Christmas gifting. In contrast to last year where Christmas shopping happened earlier, it appears consumers were waiting for November promotions and discounting to galvanise them into shops.
“These figures will give retailers a smidgen of hope as we enter December’s make-or-break trade. However, that optimism is heavily tempered by the reality that household incomes remain significantly squeezed under the pressure of rising food and energy bills. Therefore, retailers will look with great interest at the Scottish Budget tomorrow, hoping at the very least the government follows the approach in England and Wales and freezes the business rate.”
Paul Martin, partner, UK head of retail, KPMG, added: “November sales growth may have been marginal, nevertheless things have moved in the right direction for Scottish retailers. Black Friday bargains gave a much need boost to retailers on the high street and online, who will be hoping that consumers who can afford to do so, continue to spend money on gifts and food this Christmas.
“For some struggling retailers already hit hard as consumer confidence and spending declines, and costs continue to rise, the next few weeks could be critical to their survival. Retailers are well aware that in the current environment it is a battle to attract and retain every customer. Given the economic headwinds for the year ahead, with consumer behaviour expected to evolve further as shoppers look to trade down and purchase less, understanding and meeting customer needs will be mission critical for retailers, and it’s a job that keeps getting harder.”