Food bucks the trends

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SCOTTISH food sales continue to buck the overall trend in retail, according to the latest SRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.

The sales figures for the four weeks to 28 November, provided by the Scottish Retail Consortium, revealed a 4.8% increase on the previous year.

This represented the highest growth recorded since March, when consumer stockpiling in response to Covid-19 restrictions inflated figures.

Total food sales in November outperformed the three month average growth of 4.2% and the 12 month average of 3.7%.

Food may be flying, but total retail continued to experience a significant contraction.

Total sales in Scotland decreased by 10.2% compared to November 2019. This was below the three month average decline of 8.1%, but above the 12 month average decline of 11.2%.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the Scottish Retail Consortium said: “Scottish retail sales plummeted in November as retailers were hammered by the Level 4 lockdowns.

“Overall sales fell by 8.4 percent in real terms; but it was non-food stores which truly suffered with sales falling by more than a fifth. Clothing, footwear, and beauty all continued to struggle, which is an enormous concern during the traditional golden shopping period of the year for non-food stores.

“It wasn’t all bad news. Food sales accelerated for the third consecutive month, benefiting from the continuing lack of competition from closed hospitality businesses and the launch of festive ranges. It’s also clear shoppers have looked to start Christmas shopping early where possible.”