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SRC-KPMG: Scottish retail sales up by 4.3% in January 2014

LONDON, 2014-2-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — In January 2014 total Scottish sales increased by 4.3% compared with January 2013, when they had increased by 2.1%. Like-for-like sales increased by 2.5% on last January, when they had increased by 1.1%. Taking account of shop price deflation at 1.0%, January total sales were up 5.4% in real terms.

Total food sales were 1.0% up on January 2013, when they had increased 5.2%. Total non-food sales increased by 7.0% on a year earlier when they had decreased by 0.7%.

Growth in Scotland was slightly below the UK in January. As for the UK, January’s total sales growth in Scotland was much stronger than December’s. The three-month average was 1.6%, back in line with the twelve-month average of 1.7%.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Scottish retailers will take heart from these sales figures, which represent a strong start to the year. They build on a generally positive 2013 and compensate significantly for the slightly poorer sales we reported in December 2013.

“Particularly strong results were seen in clothing, furniture and other non-food items such as electricals. When Scottish retailers have got their offer right, consumers have been enthusiastic about taking advantage of promotions, as well as buying from the new ranges in store. All non-food categories performed well in January.

“Food has performed slightly less well. However, over the last three months, food performance has been slightly above that in the rest of the UK. All Scottish retailers will be working hard on their offer to maintain the good momentum we have seen this month.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “Retailers in Scotland will have breathed a sigh of relief throughout January as the snow stayed away and consumers had the confidence to spend. While some of the growth in non-food has been achieved in the sales at reduced margins, there will be retailers who feel they’ve begun to move the dial in recovery terms.

“Drivers of growth have been clothing and footwear, particularly in the sales, and the continued march of electricals. However, the relief is perhaps best felt in furniture and flooring where house price growth has fuelled spending.

“Growth in food sales remained challenging as the grocers battle for market share and consumers show less loyalty as they exercise their personal austerity around necessities. This sector will remain competitive for some time.

“Recovery has its ups and downs, and the prospect of a sharp winter blast has not yet gone away, so no retailer will be resting on its laurels. But this is a strong start to 2014 in Scotland and gives encouragement for the months ahead.”

An in-depth version of this report is available to BRC retail members, and subscribers to our Business Information Services.

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