‘Glimmer of hope’ for Scottish retail

Burns night helped boost food sales

AFTER a worryingly poor Christmas season, Scottish retail saw a more positive January – with a 2% like-for-like sales increase on the year before.

According to the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG, the four weeks until 26 January saw total sales in Scotland reach their highest  level since June of last year.

Total food sales saw even better growth, up 4.9% versus January 2018.

This was considerably higher than the UK 3-month and 12-month averages, of 2.4% and 3.0% respectively.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, described the figures as a “welcome return” to growth after an underwhelming end to 2018.

However, he warned that the figures were “slightly distorted” by the inclusion of Hogmanay in the reporting period, and so it was “too early to say with confidence that retail sales have turned the corner.”

“It’s important to note a good January doesn’t offset a disappointing November and December,” he said, “which are the crucial trading months.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG said: “Following a dreary December for retailers, January brought a glimmer of hope. Food sales performed well once again. The culinary highlight for the month was Burns Night, with haggis and other celebratory produce flying off the shelves.”