February sales fall but rate of decline below trend
COULD we be witnessing the beginning of a sustained food sales fight back?
Total food sales in Scotland in February this year compared to the same period the year before were down by 1.1% and like-for-like sales, which strip out the effects of store launches or closures during the period, were down 1.2%, found the Scottish Retail Consortium KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
But that could, the monitor partners said, be seen as one of the best performances for some time when the effect of food price deflation is allowed for.
And it also seemed to signal that the trend to sharp decline in the value of food sales was moderating.
The 1.1% fall in total food sales, which was measured at 0.6% when adjusted for deflation, compared favourably to some much steeper drops in several months over the last year including a 5.8% slump in January 2016, a 4.5% drop in July 2015 and a fall of 4.6% in April last year.
It meant the February 2016 Scottish food performance was the best monthly result in the past two years other than at periods which included Christmas or Easter. It was ahead of the three month and 12-month averages.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG said: The headline figures may be negative but closer scrutiny gives cause for optimism leading up to Easter. The grocery sector continued to build momentum to its long haul out of the doldrums.”