High Streets Initiative · 14 March 2018

“Beast from the East” hands snowed-in Scottish retailers unexpected sales boost

Retailers benefitted from outdoor clothes sales as shoppers prepared for snowfall
Retail sales in Scotland warmed up last month as shoppers blasted by the Beast from the East snow storms stocked up on extra winter clothes.

According to figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium, total sales increased by 0.7 per cent in February compared with the same month last year when they dropped by 1.9 per cent.

The figures covered the period between the end of January and 24 February before the huge snowfall hit and subsequent disruption to travel and transport.

The SRC said this February’s performance was above the three-month and 12-month averages of 0.5 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

The group said discounts on outdoor clothes such as coats as shoppers prepared for the nationwide snowfall and drop in temperatures during the month helped a slowing in the decline of non-food sales. They dropped by 1.6 per cent compared to February last year when they fell by 4.4 per cent.

Food sales, helped by inflation, were the star performer helped by demand over Valentine’s Day rising by 3.5 per cent on last year’s figures.

‘scottish retail sales turned in a credible performance last month, prior to the widespread snow disruption, with a resumption in growth above that witnessed over the past few months, said SRC director David Lonsdale.

“This was once again driven by the food category, aided in part by grocery and drink sales associated with St Valentine’s Day, and by better sales of clothing and footwear spurred on by discounting of winter and outdoor wear.

the polarisation between food and non-food retail sales was less marked than before, with the latter recording a much shallower rate of decline than over recent months.”