Summer comeback falters as sales figures show food and drink like-for-likes drop
SEPTEMBER was a difficult month for Scottish retailers, with like-for-like food sales down 1.3% on last year according to the Scottish Retail Consortium. Its monthly survey, conducted with KPMG, found total food sales were up 2.3%, just less than the rate of inflation.
For the first time in three months Scottish growth lagged behind the rest of the UK, but the figures were close.
Warm weather meant a good demand for sandwiches and the SRC also reported “a very positive reaction to new launches in ready meals”. But after a period of summer growth, the poor results were a blow.
“After a strong summer, these more subdued figures serve as a reminder that, while recent months have seen some shafts of light, the path to economic recovery remains fragile,” said Fiona Moriarty, director of the SRC. “While Scottish consumer confidence remained fairly stable in September, many of us were still cautious, possibly holding back on spending until Christmas gets closer.
“This is certainly a slowdown after an impressive run during the summer months, and highlights that conditions remain challenging. However, retailers are continuing to respond well to their customers’ needs, and will be hoping that this slight dip is reversed as we move into the crucial pre-Christmas trading period.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: “Every recovery suffers some form of setback. Having matched UK total sales for the past three months, Scotland’s figures fell behind this month with food sales growing by just less than inflation.”
• Shopper numbers dropped across Scotland in September, down 2.7% on the same time in 2012. That was a bigger drop than the rest of the UK, where shopper numbers were down 2.4%. The high street suffered the most and, after five months of positive growth, out-of-town shopping dropped by 1.3%. Shopping centre footfall was down for the 12 month in succession.
Fiona Moriarty commented: “While recent months have hinted at economic recovery many of us are still cautious about making major purchases and want to focus on managing budgets ahead of Christmas.”