Worst Scottish Christmas in 20 years

Festive sales in Scotland were poor

GROCERY sales might have been performing reasonably well, but for Scottish retail as a whole, December 2018 was the worst since the global financial meltdown of 2008.

Adjusted for inflation at 0.3%, figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG found that retail sales for the five weeks between 25 November  and 29 December decreased by 1.3%. This was the lowest figure since the Scottish Retail Sales Monitor began in 1999.

Food sales continued to grow, up by 1.3% compared to the year before, but it was still the lowest level of growth in nearly two years.

Non-food sales fared far worse, decreasing by 2.8% compared to December 2017.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of Policy & External Affairs at the SRC said: “There was little Christmas cheer for retailers with the worst real term December sales figures in twenty years.

“Whilst the dip was less pronounced than that witnessed the previous month, it’s clear stores have suffered as consumer spending is pared back under pressure from inflation, rising household costs and against a backdrop of uncertainty.”

Paul Martin, UK head of Retail at KPMG said: “There was some relief for retailers as food sales increased by 1.3 per cent – one of the few categories to experience growth. However, the contrast in performance between the high street and online was plain to see in December.”