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SRC-KPMG - Scottish retail sales boosted by Easter

In March 2015, total Scottish sales decreased by 0.1% compared with March 2014, when they had decreased by 2.5%.

Like-for-like sales decreased by 1.0% on last March, when they had decreased by 3.8%. Adjusted for deflation measured by the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, total Scottish sales increased by 1.9%, the best growth since April 2014. These figures are flattered by Easter, which occurred in March this year against April last year.

Total Food sales were 0.5% up on March 2014, when they had decreased 3.5%. This is the best Food performance since April 2014. Total Non-Food sales were 0.7% down on the previous year when they had decreased 1.8%. Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales in Scotland, total Non-Food sales increased by 0.7%, its best performance since November 2014.

Three-month average total Non-Food sales increased 0.1% (online adjusted) in Scotland against a growth of 3.7% in the UK.

David Martin, Head of Policy and External Affairs at SRC, said: "Following a strong increase in footfall, retail sales returned the best performance for almost a year in March and provided a welcome boost to what has been an otherwise sluggish first quarter in 2015.

"Whilst consumer confidence continues to rebound and the underlying economic conditions improve, much of the bounce was thanks to Easter falling two weeks earlier than last year. This allowed retailers to capitalise on the key trading days of Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

"The holiday bounce helped to drive up Food sales for grocery retailers but also benefitted Non-Food sales. Many of us used the bank holiday break to spruce up our homes and gardens benefiting Furniture sales whilst Health and Beauty ranges were popular in March as gifts for Mother's Day.

"Retailers have now enjoyed the Easter bounce so, looking ahead, April's figures may prove more challenging. The head winds of deflation continue to blow hard against retailers working incredibly hard to make gains and whilst consumer confidence and economic growth seem to be going in the right direction, the key to success will be when consumers start to feel it fully in their wallets."

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