finance

Food sales shine for Scottish retailers during December



Total retail sales in Scotland increased by 15.6% year-on-year in December, and were above 12-month average growth of 14.8%.

However, on a two-year basis, total sales continue to perform well below pre-pandemic levels, with sales down 13% compared with December 2019.

The latest Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG figures showed that Scottish sales grew by 13.4% on a like-for-like basis compared with December 2020, when they had decreased by 15.6%.

Total food sales increased 1.2% versus December 2020, when they had increased by 3.3%. Even on a two-year comparison, total food sales grew 4.5% in December.

Total non-food sales increased by 27.7% in December compared with the same month in 2020, when they had decreased by 33.4%.

But on a two-year comparison, total non-food sales declined by 27.7% last month.

Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales increased by 19.5% in December versus the same month last year, when they had decreased by 17.7%.

SRC director David Lonsdale said that the year finished with a mixed performance, as Christmas trading beat the previous years’ figures for December, but fell significantly short of pre-pandemic performance.

“Government instructions in the early to middle of the month to work from home and to keep socialising to a minimum had a chilling effect on retail sales, which were an eighth down on 2019.

“Grocery was a bright spot, as were purchases of Christmas decorations, as get-togethers of family and friends over the festive period returned and as Scots ate out less following fresh public health instructions.

“Christmas-related gifting did well especially beauty and fragrances, sales of smaller electrical goods, and leisurewear – but the cancellation of Christmas parties snuffed out the nascent growth in more formalwear seen in the early part of the month.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “Retailers will be keeping close to Government Covid-19 updates and hoping consumer confidence holds up in order to offset the rising cost challenges they are likely to experience for the foreseeable future.

“With many retailers cautiously optimistic for 2022, their top priorities will be focussing on continuously re-engineering their business models, ensuring they operate resilient supply chains and continue to have a tight grip on their costs.”

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