High street struggle

Empty high street
Non-food retail continues to decline. Image: James McDowall/Shutterstock.com

FOOD sales were the only shining light in an otherwise dark September for Scottish retail.

The latest SRC-KPMG retail sales monitor covering the five weeks to 3 October found total food sales increased 3.7% compared to September 2019,while total retail decreased by 6.0%.

Further growth for food sales saw the gap between grocery and non-food retail expanding, as high street retail struggles amid Covid-19 restrictions.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy at the SRC said: “Another month of disappointing sales confirms Scottish retail is nowhere near returning to growth.

“A real terms fall of 4.4 percent is the eighth successive month of falling sales and a huge concern to the industry ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period.

“Food sales returned to more buoyant growth, correlating with the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

“Whilst positive for grocers, there was little evidence of customers stockpiling over the month, instead it appears to be a shift from discretionary to essential spending.”