Retailers Suffer Fourth Month of Double-Digit Drop, SRC-KPMG Report Says

Retail sales in June fell almost a fifth from a year ago for a fourth straight double-digit month of decline, according to the latest SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.

The report found that total sales in Scotland last month were down 18.6% from June 2019 (1.9%).

Sales fell 27.6% in May, an improvement from the record low in April (32.2%). Sales fell 13% in March, which only included the first week of foreclosure.

Total food sales for June 2020 were up 4% from 12 months earlier, when they were down 0.5%.

Despite a 37.3% drop in total non-food product sales last month, after adjusting for the estimated effect of online sales, the June 2020 figure instead becomes a 19.4% drop.

Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) Director David Lonsdale said: “While positive for some retailers, at least in the short term, any prolonged absence of office workers from our inner cities and inner cities has bodes for shops in these regions which rely on such a custom, and which may also have suffered from a loss of tourist traffic and of students recently.

“Going forward, the authorized reopening of stores, malls and restaurants in recent weeks is expected to help drive more shoppers and boost retail sales figures.

“However, there is still a lot to do, especially to bring energy and footfall back to our city centers.”

He added: ‘Tens of thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of direct retail and supply chain jobs ultimately depend on the continued support of the Scottish public.

“This support from buyers in the coming months will determine the future and dynamism of our shopping streets and retail destinations for years to come. Early indications suggest that any recovery in retail could be slow and progressive. “

Sales of laptops and home electrical accessories and appliances continued to do well, with people still working from home or in distance learning.

Home entertainment such as games and toys also performed well, as did DIY and grocery sales.

Clothing and footwear were among the lowest ranked markets, especially more formal clothing and holiday-related items.

Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG UK, said: “It is clear that the easing of the lockdown has failed to reignite a full recovery in the retail sector in Scotland.

“Despite a 4% positive growth in total sales of food products and categories, including technology and sports equipment, which are experiencing increasing demand, the overall outlook remains incredibly depressed, especially for apparel retailers.

“The move to online sales has helped offset some of the challenges, but the situation remains critical for many of the country’s top brands as well as independent retailers. “

He added: “As we slowly move into the final stages of Scotland’s lockdown, we are confident that conditions will continue to improve.

“But a concerted and collaborative effort by industry and political leaders will be essential if we are to reverse the long-term downtrend and return to sustainable growth on the country’s shopping streets.”

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