Scottish retail sales ‘in a funk’ despite rush for new clothes and shoes after lockdown

Total sales fell 15.6% last month from April 2019, when they rose 4.4%, according to the latest sales monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG.

The move to a two-year-to-year-over-year comparison was made to provide a more meaningful picture of trade given the roller coaster ride of Covid lockdowns and restrictions experienced through most of 2020.

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On a two-year basis, total food sales fell 7.2% last month, but it was the non-food sector that once again suffered the biggest blow, with total sales falling. fell 22.7% in April.

A near-empty Buchanan Street in central Glasgow as people watch the Spring 2020 lockdown. Non-essential stores were forced to close for months at the end of last year, which hit the business, but industry leaders were hoping for a rebound from April 26. Photo: John Devlin

CBC Director David Lonsdale said: “Scottish retail sales have remained in fashion over the past month. While the reopening of non-essential stores and associated pent-up demand during the last week of April provided a much needed boost, especially for fashion retailers, it couldn’t make up for the rest of the month.

“Scotland was far behind the UK as a whole, which is not surprising after stores here missed an extra fortnight of trading compared to their counterparts in Wales and England.

“Clothing and footwear were the biggest beneficiaries of the stores reopening after the lockdown – as people were able to go out and visit their favorite stores, see items in person, and upgrade their wardrobes for the return of socializing. indoor and outdoor in restaurants and pubs. . “

He added: “While the reopening of stores closed an encouraging end to the month, the outlook for the immediate future remains uncertain.”

Paul Martin, partner and UK retail manager at KPMG, added: “We can expect the performance of the Scottish general public to improve in the coming months.

“The lockdown ended at the end of April, during an unusual cold spell for the season, but consumers still took advantage of the reopening of stores and pushed clothing sales closer to levels. before the pandemic.

“Online sales have plummeted as people waited for the opportunity to shop in person again, but it’s too early to see how Covid-19 will affect preferences in the long run.”

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