Retail sales ‘in funk’, says SRC

David Lonsdale

Despite the re-opening of non-essential stores in the last week of April, Scottish retail sales for the month were down by a sixth compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor for April 2021 reported Total sales in Scotland decreased by 15.6% on a two-year basis compared with April 2019, when they had increased by 4.4%. This was below the three-month average decline of 17.4% and the 2019 average decline of 0.2%.

Given the turbulent nature of trading in 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, the report compares figures with 2019 instead of using a year-on-year method.

Total Food sales decreased 7.2% on a two-year basis versus April 2019, when they had increased by 8.6%. April was below the three-month growth of 8.3% and the 2019 average growth of 2.4%. The three-month average was below the UK level of 10.3%.

“Scottish retail sales remained in a funk last month,” said Scottish Retail Consortium Director David Lonsdale (pictured). “Scotland lagged well behind the UK as a whole, unsurprising after shops here missed out on an extra fortnight of trading compared to counterparts in Wales and England.”

Lonsdale said the prospects for the immediate future remained uncertain.

He said: “The re-opening of parts of the hospitality, cultural and leisure sectors should generate more shopper footfall, however more needs to be done to bring the energy and footfall back into our city centres ­– beginning with a plan for the safe return of office workers and reassurance for people that public transport is safe.”