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Poor weather blamed for downturn on high street

Princes St retail shoppingPoor weather rather than post-Brexit concerns was blamed for a downturn in Scottish retail sales last month.

Shoppers stayed at home during the downpours, leading to a 1.7% decline in like-for-like sales on last year. It also saw the first dip in two months.

David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium said: “Total retail sales in Scotland – once adjusted for falling shop prices – eased down last month which was unfortunate after two successive months of growth.

“Grocery sales slipped following three consecutive months of improvement, and non-food sales faltered as a result of declines in clothing and footwear despite heavy end of season discounting. The chief bright spot was the electricals category where sales of TVs and mobile phones performed well.

“It is possible that more prolonged post-Brexit blues in Scotland may perhaps have affected consumer confidence and been a contributing factor to the dip in retail sales, however in reality thus far little has materially changed for most households in the wake of the referendum.” 

David McCorquodale, head of retail at sponsor KPMG, said: “It’s far too early to call the Scottish sales figures for July a barometer of the Brexit vote impact. The consequences, good or bad, will take some time to be negotiated and even longer to be felt in the consumer’s purse. Rather, the weather was, as ever, the driver across the board and deflation was the co-driver in the food segment.

“Whilst the south of the UK benefitted from a longer heatwave, Scottish weather was more unsettled and, consequently, footwear and fashion sales were more subdued and took a greater degree of promotions to shift.

“The other non-food category remained solid, with electricals and the home categories faring relatively well. Although the impact of the weather saw food sales fall, when adjusted for deflation, sales were sufficient to drive the 12-month average to its best showing in two years.

“Looking forward, back to school is the next event to drive sales whilst retailers across the board will focus their efforts on productivity and cost control.”

 

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