Gales and promos see festive slowdown

David Lonsdale, director, Scottish Retail Consortium.
David Lonsdale, director, Scottish Retail Consortium.

WILD weather and price-cutting promotions may have contributed towards a disappointing Christmas month for Scotland’s shops, according to the latest Scottish Retail Consortium/KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.

In December 2013 total Scottish sales, which include food and non-food products, decreased by 1.1% compared with December 2012, when they had increased by 1.5%. Like-for-like sales decreased by 2.9% on last December, when they had increased by 0.3%.
Taking account of shop price deflation at 0.8%, December total sales were down 0.3% in real terms, the report said.
Total food sales were 0.3% down on December 2012, when they had increased 1.4%. Like-for-like food sales were down 3.2%.
December total sales growth was lower in Scotland than in the UK but the three-month average for food sales is now in line with the UK overall figure.
When the decline in total food sales of 0.3% was adjusted for food price inflation, which the report put at 1.7%, total food sales were shown to have declined by 2% in real terms.
The report said shoppers exerted caution in their food purchases in December. Convenience outlets appeared to have done better than superstores. Beer, party food and flowers counted among the stronger performing items. Chilled products took share from frozen food.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The overall trend for sales in 2013 was generally positive, however these figures show a small setback in December which will be disappointing news for Scottish stores but will hopefully prove short-lived.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: “Scottish sales ended a year of recovery on a negative note. A combination of an extremely competitive market in the food and drink sector and gales in the few days before and after Christmas dampened an otherwise positive year.”