Some like it hot as Scotland beats inflation and zooms ahead of UK average to return best growth in two years
HOT weather and a feeling that the economy might finally be on the turn have given the Scottish high street its best June in two years. Food did particularly well, with sales up 4% on last year.
Total Scottish sales increased by 2.8% compared with June 2012, when they had increased by 1.2%. Like-for-like sales increased by 0.3% on last June, when they had been flat. Taking account of shop price deflation at 0.2%, June total sales were up 3% in real terms.
Total sales growth in Scotland was broadly in line with that of the UK, the best comparison since March 2011 (apart from last Christmas).
Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “It’s really positive to see that the tentative boost in May gathered strong momentum in June, propelling Scottish sales growth. Warmer weather and a steady rise in consumer confidence are key factors behind this encouraging improvement.
“Food was the stand-out performer, with growth comfortably above inflation and higher than the UK average, suggesting that sunshine and cautious optimism about the economy put many of us in the mood to stock up on seasonal, barbecue and celebratory food.
“Hopefully the good weather and improving economic outlook will deliver more of the same in July.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: “The warm glow of summer is finally being felt on the Scottish high streets. Both food and non-food sales combined to give the strongest growth in total sales in Scotland since April 2011 and a very welcome cheer for our retailers.
“Economic recovery in current climes is a long, relentless journey. However, there are signs in 2013 that consumers are feeling just a little more confident, more secure in their employment and retailers are working hard to provide an outlet for that confidence. I am encouraged by June’s figures to predict further growth in the third quarter.”
• Footfall has also increased across Scotland, with the high street ahead of shopping centres and out-of-town malls. The overall number of shoppers has increased by 1.2% on last year, which is less than last month’s increase of 3% but way above the UK rise of 0.1%.
Fiona Moriarty commented: “This represents three straight months of growth in shopper numbers.”