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Highest Scottish Sales Growth Since December

The BRC has released it’s Retail Sales Figures for October 2016, with food sales rising for the second consecutive month.


David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium: “A better performance across most categories in October is reflected in the best like for like retail sales figures for 2016. Food sales continue to improve compared to a year ago, with a 0.3 percent rise in line with the three-month average and reflecting consumers responding to continued low grocery prices. In non-food, the clothing and footwear sales category showed its best performance since September 2015 driven by new seasonal ranges and strong promotional activity, helping non-food sales to grow by 1.7 percent once the impact of online sales is factored in. Electronics, furniture and DIY also did better. It’s worth noting that without online sales non-food would have shown a small decline this month – illustrating how important that channel is for retailers.


“Whilst these further incremental improvements are cause for some optimism, there is also some cause for concern. Consumers are showing signs of awareness around the possibility of higher inflation over the year ahead, reflecting the changes in the value of the pound and likely upward pressures on the cost of imported goods. It’s important government at every level doesn’t take any further action in the next few months which could lead these nervous shoppers to stay at home or which reduces the amount they have available to spend.”


Paul Smith, Head of Retail, KPMG: “All eyes were on the weather gauge in October as unseasonably sunny weather discouraged shoppers away from the new winter ranges, with ladies’ boots being a particular casualty. Despite this, we saw a small but encouraging real-term rise, with food being the main driver, making the month the highest sales growth period since December 2015. This indicates that for now consumers are spending what they can, albeit cautiously.


“Food sales rose for the second consecutive month, helped by pumpkin and confectionary splurges for Halloween, as well as a number of in-store promotions which encouraged shoppers to stock up. With Christmas on the horizon, we may see this trend continue, as Scots prepare for the various social gatherings that the festive season entails.


“For non-food, we have seen good demand for furniture and flooring, home accessories, outdoor living and DIY during October, with the extra sunny days perhaps inspiring a few last-minute fence paintings. Although clothing and footwear has stayed the slowest grower, it has grown, with online sales helping raise its performance to its highest since September 2015.


“Overall, October has shown an encouraging nod towards growth, and retailers will be cautiously optimistic for the coming weeks which contain both Black Friday and the pre-Christmas rush. However, profits will be tempered with losses from the heavy discounting which consumers have come to expect.”


See the full report here.