Food fails to build on February promise and drops 2%
SCOTLAND’S food stores saw sales drop by 2% in March compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium KPG Retail Sales Monitor.
It was a disappointing result when compared to the February year-on-year decline of 1.1%, which had been one of the best performances in the past 12 months. That figure had followed a 5.8% slump in January.
Like-for-like sales in the five-week period between 28 February and 2 April, which strip out returns from stores which began or ceased trading in the last year, showed a slightly steeper decline of 2.1%.
Food fared worse than non-food which saw a year-on-year decline of 0.8%. The SRC KPMG monitor team said sales were likely to have been distorted by the very early date of Easter in 2016.
The report noted that the March monthly sales performance was better than both the three-monthly and 12-monthly averages. But SRC director David Lonsdale said it had nevertheless been “disappointing to see Scottish retail sales chalk up another month of decline”.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The grocery sector remains a contested battleground as deflation, competitive market forces, and changes in shopping habits all combine to play into the hands of the consumer.
“With the implementation of the National Living Wage now in force retailers will be looking hard at their own productivity and hoping that the extra pennies in the hands of the country’s workforce will flow their way.”