Scottish retail sales ‘in a funk’ despite post-lockdown rush for new clothes and shoes

Total sales fell 15.6% last month from April 2019, when they rose 4.4%, according to the latest sales monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG.

The move to a two-year year-over-year comparison was made to provide a more meaningful picture of trade given the roller coaster of lockdowns and Covid restrictions experienced through most of 2020.

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Over two years, total food sales fell 7.2% last month, but it was the non-food sector that once again suffered the hardest hit, with total sales plummeting by 22.7% in April.

A nearly empty Buchanan Street in central Glasgow as people watch the Spring 2020 lockdown. Non-essential stores were forced to close for months at the end of last year, hammering the business, but executives in the industry was hoping for a lift from April 26.  Photo: John Devlin

A nearly empty Buchanan Street in central Glasgow as people watch the Spring 2020 lockdown. Non-essential stores were forced to close for months at the end of last year, hammering the business, but executives in the industry was hoping for a lift from April 26. Photo: John Devlin

CBC Director David Lonsdale said: “Scottish retail sales remained in a funk last month. While the reopening of non-essential stores and associated pent-up demand during the last week of April provided a much needed boost, especially for fashion retailers, it couldn’t make up for the rest of the month. .

“Scotland was far behind the UK as a whole, which is not surprising after stores here missed an extra fortnight of trading compared to their counterparts in Wales and England .

“Clothing and shoes were the main beneficiaries of the stores reopening after the lockdown – as people were able to go out and visit their favorite stores, see items in person, and upgrade their wardrobes for the return of indoor socializing. and outdoor in restaurants and pubs. “

He added: “While the reopening of stores closed an encouraging end to the month, the immediate outlook remains uncertain.”

Paul Martin, Partner and UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added: “We can expect the performance of the Scottish shopping street to improve in the coming months.

“The lockdown ended in late April, in a wave of unusually cold weather, but consumers have always taken advantage of the reopening of stores and pushed clothing sales closer to pre-pandemic levels.

“Online sales have plummeted as people waited for the opportunity to shop again in person, but it is too early to see how Covid-19 will affect preferences in the long run.”

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Question mark about the future of physical stores despite “encouraging signs” to come …

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