Retail sales rise

Black Friday boost gives shops ‘smidgen of hope’

Black Friday
Black Friday boost for shops (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish retailers were given a “smidgen of hope” after November sales showed a slight uptick on last year’s figures.

However, the inflation-adjusted 0.6% rise was likely to have been driven by shoppers seeking out Black Friday bargains amid rising costs.

Ewan MacDonald Russell, deputy head of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “There was a small but welcome boost to Scottish retail sales in November as shoppers took advantage of discounts to belatedly begin their Christmas shopping.

“Food sales hit a record high of 12.5%, an inevitable consequence of record food price inflation. Non-food sales were boosted by sales of colder-weather clothing as winter started to bite, and early Christmas gifting.

“In contrast to last year where Christmas shopping happened earlier, it appears consumers were waiting for November promotions and discounting to galvanise them into shops.

“These figures will give retailers a smidgen of hope as we enter December’s make-or-break trade. However, that optimism is heavily tempered by the reality that household incomes remain significantly squeezed under the pressure of rising food and energy bills.

“Therefore, retailers will look with great interest at the Scottish Budget tomorrow, hoping at the very least the government follows the approach in England and Wales and freezes the business rate.”

Paul Martin, Partner, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “November sales growth may have been marginal, nevertheless things have moved in the right direction for Scottish retailers.

“Black Friday bargains gave a much need boost to retailers on the high street and online, who will be hoping that consumers who can afford to do so, continue to spend money on gifts and food this Christmas.

“For some struggling retailers already hit hard as consumer confidence and spending declines, and costs continue to rise, the next few weeks could be critical to their survival.

“Retailers are well aware that in the current environment it is a battle to attract and retain every customer. Given the economic headwinds for the year ahead, with consumer behaviour expected to evolve further as shoppers look to trade down and purchase less, understanding and meeting customer needs will be mission critical for retailers, and it’s a job that keeps getting harder.”

  • Total sales in Scotland increased by 8% compared with November 2021, when they had grown 2.6%. This was above the 3-month average increase of 6.9% and below the 12-month average growth of 16.5%. Adjusted for inflation, the year-on-year change was 0.6%. 
  • Scottish sales increased by 5.5% on a Like-for-like basis compared with November 2021, when they had increased by 1.8%. This is above the 3-month average increase of 4.5% and below the 12-month average growth of 13.0%

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