Moderate progress for August retail sales

Retailers are being urged to keep taking steps to 'stay afloat'. Picture: John Devlin.
Retailers are being urged to keep taking steps to 'stay afloat'. Picture: John Devlin.
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Retail sales grew for the fourth month in a row in August, although making only marginal gains, following a “successful summer” for retailers, according to a new report published today.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor for August found that Scottish sales increased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared to 12 months previously, when they had grown by 1.9 per cent.

Total sales in Scotland increased by 0.5 per cent compared with August 2017, when they had increased by 1 per cent, matching the 12-month average of 0.5 per cent.

Adjusted for inflation measured at 0.1 per cent by the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI), August sales increased by 0.3 per cent.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said: “A fourth month of sales growth brings a positive end to a successful summer for Scottish retailers. Yet as the shadows lengthen with the nights drawing in, there will be some concern the same challenges we saw earlier in the year may return with strong grocery sales offsetting a fall in non-food sales.”

The report found that total food sales in August showed a year-on-year jump of 3.8 per cent, while total non-food sales fell 2.2 per cent.

MacDonald-Russell, added: “All the indicators are consumers are still prepared to spend, but they have a limited amount of discretionary spending, and are carefully choosing each month what the priority is.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “While any growth is positive, retailers must continue to pursue repositioning, restructuring and transformation programmes to stay afloat.”