A year-on-year decline in retail sales growth north of the border in January is causing concern at the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).
Despite being comparable to the snow-hit January of 2010, the SRC and KPMG figures published today show a definite decline in growth.
SRC-KPMG statistics indicate that like-for-like (LFL) sales were 0.9 per cent lower than one year before, when a 0.6 per cent year-on-year decline in trading was reported.
Total sales were up by 1.9 per cent year on the year, however, this growth is slower than the 2.8 per cent annual rise in trading experienced in January 2010.
December 2010’s snow did not have a positive effect on January food sales as people apparently tended to use the stock they purchased around Christmas rather than splash out extra goods. Non-essentials such as clothes and footwear also showed a dramatic decline on a year ago.
Large products such as white goods and furniture started the month positively as Scots headed out to beat the VAT rise on January 4th but sales dropped throughout the month, the monitor reveals.
Fiona Moriarty, Director of the SRC, said: “Festive treats were quickly replaced by core basics as shoppers budgeted more carefully and switched to healthy-eating plans.
“Consumers were willing to buy practical cold weather items such as duvets but reluctant to splash out on non-essential items.
“January’s fall in LFL spending marks the start of a potentially difficult trading period for retailers. Consumer confidence in Scotland is below that for the rest of the UK and falling faster. Concern remains about the impact of cuts on jobs and the resulting knock-on effect on personal and household finances.”
The new figures come as setback for the SRC, which announced last month that December saw significant year-on-year sales growth of 3.4 per cent and the Scottish government happily announced that Scottish retail sales in the fourth quarter had far exceeded that of the rest of the UK as a whole.