In the bleak midwinter

SCOTTISH consumers are preparing for a tough winter, according to the latest Scottish Retail Sales Monitor collected by KPMG for the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).

Total sales in Scotland did show a sliver of growth during the five weeks to 1 October, rising by 6.5% compared to last year but, when adjusted for inflation, this sat at 0.8%.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, deputy head at the SRC, reckons there are clear signs “customers are battening down the hatches” for the incoming costs of winter. He said: “Non-food sales were dominated by consumers looking for ways to reduce their energy bills.

“Duvets, blankets, and air fryers all did well as customers look to cut costs and prepare for winter. These are not propitious signs for retailers as they enter the golden trading quarter.”

This sentiment was echoed by Paul Martin, partner and UK head of retail at KPMG, who noted that tougher times only lay ahead for everyone as we continue to approach the Christmas trading period.

He said: “With interest rates, inflation, labour, energy and cost of goods continuing to climb, retailers are heading into one of the most challenging Christmas shopping periods they have had to deal with in years.”