Final flourish for an otherwise tepid year

TOTAL sales in Scotland during December 2017 were 0.8% higher than for the same month the previous year and food sales were up by 4.4%, according to the latest Scottish retail Monitor from SRC-KPMG.

Non-food sales were down by 2.2% but, the report points out, this is an improvement over the three-month and 12-month performances which show declines of 3.8% and 3.3%.

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Londsdale said: “These positive results for December provided a final flourish to what was otherwise a pretty tepid 2017 for Scottish retailers. Adjusted for falling shop prices, total retail sales increased by 1.4%.

“The polarisation between the performances of grocery and non-food retail sales continued, although it was less pronounced than of late.”

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, said: “Heavy discounting at the expense of reduced margins appeared to pay off for non-food retailers in the short-term in December, with consumers snapping up deals on seasonal clothing lines, prompting a strong finish to 2017.

“Generous in-store discounts could not compete with the lure of online, and footfall was disappointing.”