Poor October sales

Shops in struggle for survival says retail chief

Hamilton town centre

Town centres are struggling for trade (pic: Terry Murden)

Businesses which were perfectly healthy at the start of the year are now struggling with circumstances beyond their control, and the fight for survival couldn’t be more intense for some, according to the head of the Scottish Retail Consortium.

The SRC found total sales fell by 8.5% last month compared to October last year, dragged down by a 19.3% slump in non-food sales.

It was the weakest performance since the lockdown ended in June.

In its latest report, written ahead of yesterday’s latest lockdown ruless, SRC director David Lonsdale said: “The recent gradual improvement in retail sales went into reverse in October, slipping to the weakest performance since the ending of the lockdown in June, as greater Covid restrictions and economic uncertainty exerted a vice-like grip.

“Retail sales in Scotland have still to emerge from the pandemic-induced funk, after eight months, deeply concerning at what is for many stores the start of the all-important festive period.

“Further forced store closures due to any local lockdowns during the coming weeks could be the final straw for some retailers.”

Paul Martin, Partner, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “This winter, to simply survive, retailers will have to double down on innovative strategies, pivot towards profitable online revenue growth and work even harder to tempt some shoppers back to physical retail spaces.”

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