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Scottish clothing and footwear sales suffer July slump

Scottish clothing and footwear sales in July experienced their biggest drop since March 2013 due to a combination of tough comparatives and the recent good weather steering shoppers away from the high street.

The SRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, which does not split out clothing and footwear figures, reported that non-food like-for-like sales declined 2.9% in July. Total non-food sales slipped 1%.

The report said clothing and footwear was up against tough comparatives, with the category enjoying record sales growth in July last year.

Within clothing, the report noted that the back-to-school season proved to be “successful for some retailers, but not all” while Commonwealth Games-related products such as T-shirts and sportswear experienced good demand.

Scotland experienced a tough month for footwear sales, which may have been due to the warm weather encouraging people to enjoy outdoor events rather than go shopping.

Overall like-for-like sales, including food, were down 3.7% and total sales dropped 1.8%.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “Against a very tough set of comparables last year, when we were basking in a heatwave and a Scottish Wimbledon champion, the July sales numbers in Scotland are not as bad as the headlines perhaps suggest. Clothing and footwear have enjoyed a better spring and early summer this year and so it is not surprising they have cooled off relatively in the last couple of months against strong figures last year. 

“Scotland’s high streets saw improved footfall in July, no doubt boosted by Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.  However, as with the Olympics two years ago, these events may boost the restaurant trade, but don’t always boost high street sales.”

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