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Scots shun shopping in favour of major events

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Scots shun shopping in favour of major events

The fall in like-for-like spending, which strips out the impact of new shop openings, represented a deterioration on the three-month average decrease of 2.1%. It was also substantially below the 12-month average growth trend of 1.6%.

READ MORE: Swifties and Euros bolster Scottish retail footfall

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, deputy head of the SRC, said the downturn was triggered by a combination of unseasonably cold weather which hampered clothing sales, plus the impact of Scots travelling to events such as concerts and the Euro 2024 competition in Germany. Linda Ellett, head of retail at KPMG, added that consumers remain “incredibly reluctant” to take the brakes off their spending despite easing pressure on household finances.

“Retailers, who are running to stand still at the moment, having exhausted all of the levers they have at their disposal to cut costs and drive sales via promotions, will be looking to the new Government to boost the economy and confidence,” she said.

“The overall economic conditions may slowly be improving, but the health of the sector remains fragile, and action is needed now to help support this vital economic contributor – particularly around neglected areas such as business rate reform.”

READ MORE: The impact of the Fringe on business in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Separate figures released last week by the SRC showed Scotland to be the best of a bad UK bunch for shopper footfall last month, with numbers up by a modest 0.2% amid Taylor Swift’s Eras tour stop in Edinburgh and a boost from sports fans going out to watch the Euros. However, this failed to translate into increased spending.

“Food sales fell back across the month, possibly a sign consumers have a little more financial headroom after a year of responding to food price inflation,” Mr MacDonald-Russell said. “However, there was little evidence of a switch to high street spending, with summer clothing and footwear ranges particularly struggling.

“There was a small uplift in technology sales, a combination of sports fans acquiring new televisions for the Euros and consumers replacing pandemic purchases.”

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