Scottish retail sales return with slight growth

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Sales up by 0.8% year-on-year with deals driving big ticket purchases.

Total retail sales in Scotland were up 0.8% in September compared to September 2010 when they had increased 2.3%.

The results, as released by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), showed that non-food sales improved a little but remained tough. Big-ticket purchases were largely deal-driven but were also hit by fragile consumer confidence.

Ian Shearer, Scottish Retail Consortium director, said: "A slight improvement is better than no improvement but fundamentally the tough times continue for many customers and retailers.

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Scotland’s retail growth is said to be “well below” inflation, with September’s sales volumes down but non-food retail showing the biggest improvement.

"Non-food sales were up on a year ago for the first time since Easter, but only just,” said Shearer. “Clothing and footwear sales fell because, although Scotland didn’t have a prolonged heatwave, the lack of cold weather meant people had little interest in winter ranges.”

He did release one word of warning for retailers in the luxury sector, however: "Generally, people are still confining their spending to basic needs."

David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, said: “While the recurring theme of like-for-like sales being down in Scotland against last year has continued with a fall of 0.6% in September, the total sales figure for the month rose by 0.8%.”

McCorquodale said that the weeks ahead until Christmas will be “critical”, as orders have been placed for stock and rent cheques will have been paid already.

"Many promotions and sales days will occur between now and Christmas but retail chiefs will also be hoping that consumers manage to throw a little caution aside in the coming weeks and that the weather does not play as key a role as it did last year."
 

 

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