High-street sales down after Scots ‘ducked’ Black Friday

Shoppers chose to stay at home rather than battle it out on the high street. Picture: Hemedia
Shoppers chose to stay at home rather than battle it out on the high street. Picture: Hemedia
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Shoppers “learned the lessons of last year” and avoided the high street and large stores on Black Friday, according to the latest retail figures.

Scottish sales decreased by 2.3 per cent in November compared to the same month last year as more people made purchases online.

The latest SRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found Black Friday did bring a slight “bounce” in sales among cosmetic products and electrical items, but there was not the same frenzy as previous years where consumers queued overnight and raced around stores for discounts.

David Martin, of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Learning the lessons from last year, consumers ducked the frenzy of the Black Friday bargain hunt on the high street and made more of their purchases online in November.

READ MORE - Scots shopper numbers drop by highest margin for 3 years

“As the lines between retail channels become increasingly blurred, a disappointing set of headline store figures masks a positive non-food retail performance.

“The six-month rolling average reached 0.7 per cent, its highest level since November 2014, suggestive of non-food sales gathering momentum ahead of Christmas.

“Non-food sales were the main beneficiary of the Black Friday bounce and grew by 0.4 per cent once adjusted for the effect of online sales.

“The evidence suggests that consumers held back their spending in the first few weeks of November in order to capitalise on the deals and offers during the final week of the month.

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“Promotions stimulated sales in cosmetic products and electrical items as households get ready for Christmas while consumers continued to spend on big-ticket items like furniture.

“The Black Friday event disrupted sales patterns in November and only time will tell what true effect it has had on the build-up to Christmas.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The evidence suggests Scottish consumers are waiting for promoted bargains before committing to spend.

“The unknown element of this stand-off is whether retailers will feed this discount addiction before Christmas or hold their nerve and their margins.

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“With little to cheer from November’s trading, retailers will be hoping for a dry yet chilly run in to Christmas and let the theatre of the store drive sales rather than an internet bombardment of basement bargains. Consumers, on the other hand, will test the resolve in the search for value.”