Best figures for four years

Relief for retailers as warm spell lures shoppers

Prince St retail shopping

Relief for hard-pressed retailers (pic: Terry Murden)


Scottish retailers have recorded their best monthly performance in more than four years, but an industry leader said ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said the figures in May were boosted by an uplift in sales of garden furniture, barbecues and summer clothing, footwear and food.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said the figures were encouraging but warned not to get carried away.

“One swallow does not make a summer The reality is that there are a lot of headwinds so I am keen not to read too much int the figures,” he said.

Total sales in Scotland increased by 2.6% compared with May 2017, when they decreased by 0.2% – the highest since January 2014.

The sales figures were also above the three and 12-month averages.

Total food sales in May increased 4.2% compared with May 2017, when they increased by 4.5%. Non-food sales saw an increase of 1.4%, whereas last year there was a decrease of 3.8%.

The SRC said these figures were the best since January 2014 – excluding Easter distortions.

Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG for the UK, said: “Following a challenging April, retailers can breathe a sigh of relief after May delivered a much-needed sales uplift in Scotland.

“Multiple bank holidays, coupled with an extended period of warm weather, contributed to the 2.3% increase – the highest we’ve seen since 2014.

“The sun shining inevitably drove Scots outdoors, with weekend picnics and bank holiday barbecues helping to drive a 4.2% growth in food sales.”

However, Mr Cavin added that non-food sales were lagging slightly behind the three-month UK equivalent.

The latest retailer to report figures gave a positive update. Inditex, the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of brands including Zara and Massimo Dutti, said sales in the first quarter rose 2% to €5.7bn (£5bn), while profits before tax and other charges were €1.13bn – both broadly in line with analysts’ expectations.

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