Scottish high street continues tough run

Experts say the long-term outlook for Scotland's high streets continues to remain challenging. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Experts say the long-term outlook for Scotland's high streets continues to remain challenging. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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High street retailers north of the Border saw sales dip last month despite their cost-cutting efforts to attract custom, a key industry snapshot today suggests.

Total retail sales in the country decreased by 0.3 per cent compared to July last year, when they increased by 1.1 per cent, according to the monthly tracker from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KMPG.

Sales fell by 0.4 per cent measured on a like-for-like basis compared with July 2018, when they nudged up 0.1 per cent.

There was however a rise in total food sales, with an increase of 1.8 per cent against July the previous year, when they increased by 5.6 per cent.

David Lonsdale, director at the SRC, said: “The value of Scottish retail sales edged down last month, admittedly after a tough comparable July in 2018.

“The dip was at a much more modest rate than witnessed the previous month and comes after disappointing footfall figures unveiled earlier this week. Shoppers have kept a firm grip on their purses and wallets of late, with July rounding off an underwhelming three months for the industry. Indeed, over the past year as a whole retail sales have essentially been flat.

“Discounting was more prominent during the month, to the benefit of consumers but at a cost to retailers in terms of their profit margins.”

Paul Martin at KPMG added: “The figures will not provide much welcome news and the long-term outlook for Scotland’s high streets continues to remain challenging.”