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Scottish retail sales drop in July despite rise in footfall

Retail sales in Scotland fell by 1.8% year-on-year on a total basis in July despite a healthy rise in footfall. On a like-for basis sales dropped by 3.7%.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Scottish retail sales drop in July despite rise in footfall

The figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG show that total food sales fell by 2.8% to mark the deepest decline since March. Over the last three months, total food sales declined by 2%, compared to 0.1% growth over the last twelve months.

The SRC said discounting across the grocery market was a major factor contributing to the decline although the food sector faced tough comparisons from the same month last year when sales rose by 5.6%.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "The food and drink sector continues to be the drag on the statistics with competitive pricing amongst the grocers driving negative like-for-likes for the twelfth month in a row. The decline in Scottish food sales is similar to that felt in the rest of the UK and so we are not noticing regional variations on this theme."

Meanwhile, total non-food sales decreased by 1% on a year earlier. However, when adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales in Scotland, total non-food sales would have increased by 0.7% - the strongest growth in the last three months. The SRC attributed this to strong trade in outdoor furniture, DIY and home furnishings, as well as Commonwealth Games related purchases.

Commenting on the month's figures, SRC director David Lonsdale said: “Despite a healthy rise in footfall witnessed on Scotland’s high streets and shopping centres in July, it didn’t translate into a commensurate increase in the actual value of retail sales.

“Going forward, retailers will be buoyed by further recent rises in employment and falling unemployment in Scotland, albeit forecasts for future wage growth over the short term remain tentative at best. Government can assist with policies which put money into people’s pockets, keep down the cost of doing business, and make it easier for retailers to invest and expand their premises.”

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