LONDON, 2014-5-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — In April 2014 total Scottish sales increased by 1.9% compared with April 2013, when they had decreased by 2.1%. Like-for-like sales increased by 1.1% on last April, when they had decreased by 3.0%. Taking account of shop price deflation, April total sales were up 3.3% in real terms.
Total Food sales were 1.1% up on April 2013, when they had decreased 1.4%. April 2014 benefits from a positive Easter distortion.
Total Non-Food sales increased by 2.6% on a year earlier when they had decreased 2.7%. Adjusted more comprehensively for the estimated effect of online sales, total Non-Food sales would have increased by 3.2%.
Total Scottish sales growth was 0.7% year-to-date, which is below the UK total growth and the Scottish 12-month average of 1.5%.
David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The strong Footfall data published earlier this week translated into Clothing and footwear turning in the best performance in this category for over three years. This was driven by shoppers’ updating their wardrobes with seasonal wear and through purchases of children’s clothing. Sales of bigger ticket items such as furniture, gardening, DIY and materials for revamping the home also did well, and total food sales picked up too.
“What is most heartening is that a broader range of indicators crucial to the health of Scotland’s retail industry have begun pointing in a more positive direction. Retail sales and footfall are both up, and the number of empty retail properties has fallen. Retailers will of course work hard to sustain this. Government and local authorities however can play their part by channelling their collective energies into ensuring that the retail industry, which is after all Scotland’s largest private sector employer, is even better placed to be able to invest, expand and create jobs.”
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “April’s bounce back due to a late Easter was more muted than hoped for in Scotland, reminding us how hard retailers are working to drive sales growth in this slowly recovering economy.
“Total sales in Scotland for the three months to April fell by 0.7 per cent on the prior year, mainly driven by negative trends in the food sector, which fell by 1.4 per cent in the quarter. This, set against an increase of 1.5 per cent in food sales for the 12 months to April 2014 reflects the harsh realities of the grocery sector. Targeted discounting may be great for consumers, but I fear it will have longer term consequences on suppliers.
“Other non-food sales for the quarter have been largely flat in Scotland save for clothing and footwear categories which have been spurred on by better weather and also, perhaps, from savings in food being diverted to the wardrobe.”
British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. firstname.lastname@example.org.