Chilly April and early Easter mean sales slip again
But food drops less than before as clothing is hit
APRIL 2016 proved yet another poor retail sales month in Scotland. But food, while declining, turned out to be one of the less hard-hit retail categories.
Total retail sales in Scotland in April this year compared to the same month last year were down 3.2%, according to the latest figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
But that was heavily influenced by a very poor performance by non-food sales, especially clothing and footwear.
While non-food sales slumped by 4.4%, which was a notably more severe decline than the average both for the last three months and for the last 12 months, the 1.7% decline in food sales was more or less on the three-month average and considerably better than the average performance in the last year.
In fact only December 2015 and February 2016 had returned better results on food.
And April this year had some disadvantages compared to last year.
The weather was cold, indeed snow persisted in much of Scotland all through the month. And, while last year’s Easter occurred in April, this year’s Easter was done and dusted by late March.
Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: “Customers remain cash-conscious and retail spending is fragile, perhaps weighed down by talk over recent weeks of higher taxes on wages and for council services.”