Sluggish June for Scotland’s retail sector

Sterling is struggling against the Euro driving food prices up.
Sterling is struggling against the Euro driving food prices up.

ANNUAL food sales growth hit its highest level since April 2014 this summer, new figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium for June reveal. However, overall retail sales numbers paint a less than rosy picture.

In June, total sales in Scotland fell by 0.5% compared to June 2016, when they had declined by 1.4%, a figure dragged down by the poor performance of non-food products.

Total non-food sales declined 4.2% in June compared to the same period in 2016, when they had increased by 0.1%. This is below the 12 month average decline of 2.8%.

Ewan MacDonald-Russel, SRC’s head of policy and external affairs, commented on what he described as a “disappointing June for retailers”.

“Nervous consumers continue to postpone discretionary spending due to squeezed household incomes and worries about the economy,” he said.

“In real terms sales fell by 0.1%, with non-food sales in store down by 4.2%. Even when the positive impact of online sales are included, non-food sales were down 1.2% across the last three months.

“Grocery sales were up 4.2% this month and over 12 months recorded their fastest growth since April 2014. However, it’s clear that growth derives from cost pressures from imported goods; resulting from the fall in the value of sterling.”