Scottish sales slowdown during wet May -SRC

David Lonsdale
David Lonsdale

Scottish sales decreased by 3.1 last month compared with May 2014 when they had decreased by 1.6 per cent.

Like-for-like sales decreased on last May by 3.5 per cent, when they had decreased by 2.7 per cent, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium.

Adjusted for deflation, as measured by the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI), total Scottish sales decreased by 1.2 per cent, their deepest decline since November 2012, excluding Easter distortions.

Total Food sales were 2.1 per cent down on May 2014, when they had decreased 2.0 per cent.

Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales in Scotland, total non-food sales decreased by 2.4 per cent, over May 2014, when they had increased by 0.5 per cent.

The results mark the deepest decline since the SRC began measuring the online effect in December 2012.

Three-month average total Non-Food sales decreased 0.2 per cent (online adjusted) in Scotland against a growth of 2.8 per cent in the UK, a 0.5 percentage point widening of the gap seen last month. The deficit is primarily due to the Clothing & Footwear underperformance, driven by cooler weather in Scotland compared to the UK.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Retail sales shrunk 1.2 per cent last month, once falling shop prices are taken into account, which was a slight decline on the previous month’s pallid figures. This sluggish performance was attributable to feeble clothing and footwear sales in May and an overall drop in shopper footfall last month.

“Better performances reported for beauty products such as cosmetics and skincare and for larger household furniture items simply weren’t enough to stem the steepest decline in the non-food category since 2012. Sales of grocery items by contrast stabilised, in line with their 12-month average for this category, suggesting a further gradual improvement in food which until recently had reported ever deepening contractions month after month.

“Lower prices in shops and at the petrol pump and a more optimistic outlook for jobs and wages growth have yet to translate into increased consumer spending at shop tills. Retailers will be looking to the Chancellor in his upcoming Summer Budget for measures to help consumer spending take wing.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “Chilly winds blew up Scottish High Streets in May as retail sales declined at rates not seen since 2012. The worst declines were in fashion and footwear, whose early spring revival took a set back as May’s weather turned for the worse. There will be fingers crossed in the fashion trade for some sustained summer weather throughout June to boost sales before the holiday season, rather than be forced into heavy discounting.

“Outdoor living and DIY also suffered with the cooler weather and it was left to home furnishings and health and beauty to show resilience and growth. With the whole of the UK showing continuous growth in non-food sales, retailers will be keen to see Scottish consumers have the confidence to catch up and narrow the gap.

“Food sales continued to decline as deflation dominates the headlines. This is good news for consumers who are taking advantage of a highly competitive market as grocers fight hard for share of wallet with promotional activity. For the retailers, they know hard work lies ahead over the summer months as Scotland will have less footfall without the repeat of last year’s major sporting events hosted during the summer.”

Share icon
Share this article: