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Clothing decline drags down Scottish retail sales

Sales in Scottish shops decreased by 1.4% year on year in June as a slight uplift in the grocery sector failed to offset a poor performance in the non-food category, and specifically fashion.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Grocery sales were up 0.1%, but non-food dropped by 2.6%, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG’s Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.

While it did not give a breakdown for clothing sales within the non-food category, the SRC said: “Promotions were prevalent, with some retailers bringing their sales period forward to help stimulate demand. Seasonal lines were hit the hardest as the unsettled weather set in.

“All three [clothing] segments reported disappointing sales, with the women’s and children’s more impacted than the men’s segment.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: “Introducing early Sales didn’t prevent seasonal lines being hit by an unpredictable weather front which, after an initial sunny spell, dominated from the second week in June through to the end of the month.”

He also warned retailers to ready themselves for continuing tough times ahead: “One thing for certain is that regardless of the weather forecast, the retail sector should be braced for further change and uncertainty as the politicians begin the process of brokering a new deal with Europe.”

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said it was “far too early” to say if last month’s Brexit would have an impact on retail sales and shop prices in Scotland. “Scottish retailers remain open for business, and the vote has not changed their commitment to deliver for customers,” he said.

But he added: “However, there are signs that customer confidence may have faltered since June 23.”

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