Scotland business

Scottish shops report further sales fall

Empty shopping trolley Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Retailers report that shoppers in Scotland have been reluctant to fill their trolleys

Shops in Scotland have reported a further decline in sales.

The figure for last month was 3.1% down on May 2014, according to the Scottish Retail Sales Monitor. The decline in sales affected both food and non-food sectors.

One analyst said the fall in retail sales was at a level not seen since 2012.

Retailers have called for the chancellor to encourage consumer spending in his summer budget.

The monitor is published by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and business advisers KPMG.

The year-on-year decline in food sales in May was 2.1%. For non-food sales, the figure was 3.9%.

'Pallid figures'

SRC director David Lonsdale said: "Retail sales shrunk 1.2% last month, once falling shop prices are taken into account, which was a slight decline on the previous month's pallid figures.

"This sluggish performance was attributable to feeble clothing and footwear sales in May and an overall drop in shopper footfall last month.

"Better performances reported for beauty products such as cosmetics and skincare and for larger household furniture items simply weren't enough to stem the steepest decline in the non-food category since 2012."

He added: "Lower prices in shops and at the petrol pump and a more optimistic outlook for jobs and wages growth have yet to translate into increased consumer spending at shop tills.

"Retailers will be looking to the chancellor in his upcoming summer Budget for measures to help consumer spending take wing."

May weather

Part of the decline in May was attributed to disappointing weather.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: "Chilly winds blew up Scottish high streets in May as retail sales declined at rates not seen since 2012.

"The worst declines were in fashion and footwear, whose early spring revival took a setback as May's weather turned for the worse.

"There will be fingers crossed in the fashion trade for some sustained summer weather throughout June to boost sales before the holiday season, rather than be forced into heavy discounting."

Mr McCorquodale said consumers had benefited from promotions on food items.

"For the retailers, they know hard work lies ahead over the summer months as Scotland will have less footfall without the repeat of last year's major sporting events hosted during the summer," he added.

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