In-store sales remained at pre-pandemic levels last month as retailers continued to face “no shortage of storm clouds”.
While food and drink continued to perform well, fashion and footwear trade in Scotland was “slow”, highlighting the polarization between food and non-food sales.
Data from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG showed that between January 30 and February 26, total sales were down 6.3% from February 2020, when they fell by 0 .8% – although this figure is higher than both three-month and 12-month sales – the monthly average falls by 9.4%.
The Monitor provided comparisons with February 2020 as Scottish retail last February was in lockdown, pushing many consumers to buy goods online.
Total food sales increased by 3.5% compared to February 2020, when they had increased by 2.9%.
However, total non-food sales fell 14.5% in February from the same period two years ago, when they fell 3.8%.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: “February saw a further gradual improvement in Scottish retail sales, helped in part by purchases associated with Valentine’s Day and a slight increase in people returning to the workplace. .
“However, retail sales are still lagging the comparable pre-pandemic period, underscoring the protracted nature of the retail recovery.”
He explained that food and beverage sales continued to do well, although they were somewhat supported by food price inflation, with retailers reporting that larger furniture was selling well, often in due to interest-free financing agreements.
“Sales of beauty products and office wear have increased as more people have started to return to the office,” Lonsdale said. “However, fashion and footwear as a whole have been slow, held back by continued challenges to ensure timely supply of inventory from overseas, which has affected seasonal ranges.”
The monitor showed that the 14.5% drop in non-food sales was higher than the three-month average drop of 20.4% and the 12-month average drop of 20.7%.
Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales fell 34.1% in February compared to February 2020, when they fell 2.4%.
This figure was higher than the three-month average drop of 34.8% and lower than the 12-month average drop of 22.9%.
Paul Martin, head of UK retail at KPMG, said: “Scottish retail sales remained sluggish in February, still falling short of pre-pandemic spending levels.
“A double whammy of rising inflation and supply chain issues continues to impact both shoppers and retailers, with many consumers choosing to cut spending in order to manage rising bills. Household.
“Scottish retailers are also facing strong inflationary pressures and will have to make tough decisions about how to manage supply chains, absorb higher costs or pass them on without losing customers.”
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