Retail recovery is fragile

woman thinking in a grocery store

WHILE inflation reached new heights, Scottish sales managed to stay positive at the start of the year, according to the latest Scottish Retail ConsortiumKPMG retail sales monitor.

During the four weeks to 28 January, the SRC reported a total sales increase of 8.9% in Scotland compared with 2022. When adjusted for inflation, this number still sat above zero at 1%.

Total food sales also told a positive story during the four weeks, increasing by 11.3% against the same period last year.

Ewan MacDonald Russell, deputy head at the SRC, said: “Grocers saw sales boosted by Hogmanay and Burns Night celebrations, as customers took advantage of the first real opportunity after the pandemic to enjoy these events more normally.”

Despite this, retailers should still take heed for the months ahead as they will continue to face challenges during a recovery that could falter once again.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail and partner at KPMG, said: “Retailers are facing a tightrope.

As their costs rise and margins are squeezed, they also have to ensure affordability and value for customers.

“Although many have demonstrated resilience over recent years, it is likely we will continue to see casualties both online and on the high street this year.”