WILD weather might have made for disappointing Christmas sales, but a lack of snow meant consumers had the confidence to get out and spend at the start of 2014, said the Scottish Retail Consortium/KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.
Now the bad news, they weren’t spending on food.
Like for like sales on food were down 1.4% compared to a year ago. Total food sales were up but by just 1%.
Growth in Scotland was slightly below the UK in January, the monitor said, but January’s total sales growth in Scotland was much stronger than December’s.
The report suggested that Hogmanay falling later in the week “flattered the comparison” with the previous year in terms of food sales. It also said there was a positive effect on sales from Burns Night celebrations but a negative one from the unseasonably warm weather.
David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, 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.
“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.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “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.”