Total Food sales in Scotland increased by 4.9% in January, compared to the same period last year, when they had increased by 4.2%, according to the latest SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.
This is the highest since July and above both the 3-month and the 12-month averages of 2.9% and 3.6% respectively. The 3-month and 12-month averages in Scotland are above the UK’s levels of 2.4% and 3.0% respectively.
David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, commented: “January saw a welcome return to overall retail sales growth after what had been an underwhelming end to 2018, and despite a dip in shopper footfall during the month. This was driven by a more broadly-based pick up including a strong performance in food and drink.”
Lonsdale said that the figures were “slightly distorted” by the inclusion of Hogmanay during the reporting period. This made it too early to say with confidence that retail sales had “turned the corner”.
“Grocery sales did well, helped by New Year and Burns Night celebrations, both of which encouraged shoppers to stock up on Scottish favourites including steak pies and haggis,” he continued.
“Nonetheless, it’s important to note a good January doesn’t offset a disappointing November and December which are the crucial trading months. Consumers continue to be careful with their spending at a time when political and economic uncertainty dominate the headlines, and with council tax and other cost of living rises in the pipeline. Policymakers should keep household spending pressures upmost in their minds over the next few months as a result.”