‘Golden quarter’ starts off rusty

Scottish sales weren’t spectacular

TRADITIONALLY the strongest quarter of the year, the last four months of 2018 got off to a slow start according to the latest retail sales figures produced by KPMG for the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).

Scottish sales figures for the four weeks to 27 October show total sales in Scotland decreased by 0.2%, with like-for-like sales down 0.6% compared to October 2017.

Food sales in October saw an increase of 2.3% on last year,  however this growth was significantly lower than the 4.9% increase enjoyed in October 2017.

October’s food sales growth was below the three month and 12 month averages for Scotland of 3.3% and 4.0% respectively.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC said: “After a positive run over the previous five months Scottish retail sales ran out of puff in October,  recording an essentially flat performance once shop price deflation is taken into account. The growth in grocery eased back markedly, with non-food sales lethargic once again.

“The two months leading up to Christmas account for a fifth of annual retail spend, and these figures strike a cautious note for the rest of this crucial trading period.”

KPMG’s head of retail in Scotland Paul Martin said: “Scottish retailers will have been hoping for a strong start to the all-important golden quarter, but it wasn’t to be. Some tough decisions will need to be made between volume of sales and profit.”