Sharp slow down in Scottish retail sales, says survey

Image caption,
Shops in Scotland are hoping for a rush in the run up to Christmas

High street sales slowed sharply in Scotland last month, according to the latest retail survey.

Total sales grew by 1.4% in October which is much lower than the UK figure of 2.4%, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) reported.

Like-for-like spending, which strips out the effect of new store openings, fell by 1.8%.

The consortium said that worries about job losses had led to consumers being much more cautious.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Scottish shoppers are more cautious than their counterparts south of the border with sales growth slower and footfall weaker than elsewhere in the UK.

"With just over five weeks to go, retailers will be hoping the pre-Christmas sales surge is still to come."

The consortium said there was much more evidence of shoppers searching for value and deals and thinking twice before making big spending commitments.

Non-food items fared particularly badly in October with total sales down 1.1% and like-for-like falling by 3.8% which is the worst fall for a year-and-a-half.

'Good deals'

Clothing, footwear, furniture and home wares were all down on a year ago and "big-ticket" items were hardest hit.

Food inflation has also continued to make things difficult for retailers. The SRC said shop prices have risen at their fastest rate since the beginning of the year.

David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, which sponsors the survey, said: "The impact of the Spending Review and the subsequent uncertainty surrounding the future of Scotland's public sector, especially its large workforce, continues to have a knock-on effect on discretionary spend and drives shoppers to search for good deals and promotions.

"Consumers are also waiting to hear the outcome of the Scottish Budget, which will provide a more accurate indication of where the cuts and job losses might fall."

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