Belfast Telegraph

Retailers encouraged by real-terms sales growth in November

Total retail sales in Scotland recorded a "promising" third successive month of real-terms positive growth in November, experts have said.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor figures showed total retail sales last month fell by 1.5% compared with November 2015.

However, when adjusted for deflation measured at 1.7% by the BRC-Nielsen shop price index, sales were found to have risen by 0.2% in real terms.

Total food sales were found to be flat on last November while non-food sales dropped 2.7% compared to a year ago, which retail experts are attributing to Black Friday promotional and discounting activity.

SRC director David Lonsdale said: "Total retail sales in Scotland recorded a third successive month of real-terms positive growth, albeit at a pace less marked than in October.

"This promising news was underpinned by further improvements in grocery sales, which grew for a third month in a row; the best quarterly performance in almost three years.

"Non-food sales were heavily driven by online sales arising from Black Friday. Promotional and discounting activity by retailers around cyber-weekend led to electricals and electronic goods performing particularly well last month, as did fragrances.

"The two months leading up to Christmas account for a fifth of annual retail spending and these figures provide grounds for optimism for the rest of this crucial trading period."

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland at KPMG, added: "Online is the new black in 2016 as cyber sales drove much of the growth while stealing the show on Black Friday.

"This may well herald the tone of years to come, with increasingly sophisticated online sales technology giving consumers a convenient yet rich shopping experience without the hassle of crowds."

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.