Scottish retailers on the ropes

Retail sales in Scotland for July have dropped to a ten-year low.


Retail sales in Scotland for July have dropped to a ten-year low.

Retail sales in Scotland for July have dropped to a ten-year low.

Like-for-like sales last month were 1.4 per cent lower than in July 2009, when they had risen 0.6 per cent, according to research by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and professional services firm KPMG.

July’s fall was the worst since August 2000, apart from April 2010 when the year-on-year comparison was weakened by Easter falling earlier than in 2009. Similarly, excluding Easter distortions, total sales in July were only 0.8 per cent up on a year ago, the weakest growth since April 1999.

Food sales were slightly down on a year ago. Clothing and footwear weakened further, despite some aggressive discounting in clearance sales. Homewares showed an even larger decline than in June, with big-ticket and discretionary items hardest hit.

Like-for-like sales fell further below their year-earlier level, and remained worse than in the UK, where the weather was less wet than in Scotland.

UK sales were 0.5 per cent higher than in July 2009, when they had risen 1.8 per cent. The SRC says consumer confidence has fallen more in Scotland than in the UK and, with more concern about public sector job cuts, has made shoppers more cautious about spending.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the Consumer Price Index shows that inflation fell from 3.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent in July. This remains higher than the Bank of England’s stated target rate of 2 per cent.

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