Summer fails to heat up Scottish food sales

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Food sales in Scotland grew marginally in June (up 0.9% yoy), against figures from last year, while adjusting for inflation, volumes are likely to have declined. A relentlessly wet June put a dampener on summer lines such as barbecue foods, summer fruits and salads, said the Scottish Retail Sales Monitor. These were replaced by stewing meats and potatoes, while convenience lines sold well. Jubilee products delivered a mild boost, helping the sale of party foods such as crisps, cakes and dips, while non-alcoholic beverages, wines, beers and spirits also sold well compared with a weaker June last year.

Perhaps of more concern, this is the fifteenth month in a row that retail sales growth in the UK has outstripped Scotland, although the gap has narrowed.

Richard Lim, Scottish Retail Consortium Economist, said: “June’s prolonged wet weather has caused Scottish retail to stagnate. Consumers remain cautious about their personal finances and lower temperatures have cooled demand for summer fashions and outdoor leisure goods. With shops full of seasonal stock, retailers are hoping a possible Indian summer delivers some salvation.

“Food and drink retailers are faring the best in a weak market but when inflation is taken into account, volumes of sales are likely to have declined. There was a boost in the run up to the Jubilee celebrations as shoppers bought in party foods for the long weekend but it wasn’t on the same scale as seen in our UK-wide statistics.

“Retailers are discounting aggressively to encourage shoppers through their doors and to maintain the many thousands of jobs which depend upon the sector. Falling inflation offers some hope with signs that the squeeze on real disposable incomes are easing, but a fundamental revival in consumer spending may be some way off yet.”

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