Christmas decorations help light up retail sales figures

Christmas decorations and small electrical goods helped shore up retail sales last month.

Decorations: Light up retail sales.
Decorations: Light up retail sales.

Christmas decorations and small electrical goods helped shore up retail sales in Scotland last month, once adjusted for the timing of Black Friday, a report has found.

The monthly retail sales monitor by the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG indicated 0.8% growth last month, compared to November 2018, once adjusted to account for the November 29 sale.

The figure was calculated by factoring in the negative distortion caused by the timing of Black Friday, which fell outside this year’s November report but inside last year’s, changing the recorded 2.5% drop.

The adjusted figures show like-for like growth was up 0.1% between last month and November 2018. Food sales rose 2.7% compared to November 2018, when they had increased by 2.8%.

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Online-adjusted non-food growth, corrected for the effect of Black Friday, was 1.1% year on year.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, SRC head of policy and external affairs, said: “Once adjustments for Black Friday are considered, retailers will be cautiously optimistic after a November which looks like it matched 2018.

“After a difficult autumn, this provides a little hope for hard-pressed retailers as we head into the most important trading month of the year.

“Food sales continue to grow year on year, although we still believe inflation is the key contributor to that growth.

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“Non-food sales grew by 1.1%, with smaller electrical goods and Christmas decorations doing well.

“However, there is still a concern cautious consumers are holding back from more expensive purchases; at least in part due to the volatile political climate.”

Paul Martin, KPMG UK head of retail, said: “November’s figures make troubling reading, with a sharp decline in like-for-like sales of -5.2% but it’s important to place the results into some context.

“If adjusted for the later timing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we would have actually witnessed a very modest growth of 0.1%.

“However, there’s no escaping the challenges facing Scottish retailers as uncertainty hangs over the economy.”


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