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Scottish Retail Sales Rose in April on Warm Weather & Easter
Jun 06, 2009

Retail sales in Scotland surged impressively in April 2009, outshining the overall growth in the UK, due to better weather and Easter shopping.

According to the Scotland Retail Consortium, the value of Scottish retail sales was up 8.2% in April 2009 as compared to April 2008, which is a tremendous growth at the time of recession, as reported by The Herald.

On comparing the shops which were counted both in 2008 and 2009, the growth was 4.3%. The rise in the Scottish retail sales during April 2009 was relatively better than that witnessed in 2008 and outpaced 6.3% growth in the entire UK recorded by Britain Retail Consortium. Excluding the unusual weather and Easter timing, average sales during February-April displayed a total 5% increase over the same period in 2008. Moreover, like-for-like sales were 1.2% higher.

The warmer and sunny weather as well as the festival of Easter in April were the major drivers for the growth in April retail sales. With the overall Scottish sales outpacing that of the entire UK, it becomes clear that consumer confidence in Scotland was better than that in the UK as a whole. 

Furthermore, surging food prices kept the total consumer spending high, but the non-food sales witnessed their first increase since May 2008. April 2009 was the third warmest April month in Scotland after 1914. This warm weather spurred the sales of footwear, clothing and outdoor living items. However, the sales of high-end products like furniture struggled in wake of weak housing market and uncertainty of jobs.

The growth in food sales, which outshined all the remaining segments, was due to consumers preference to cook at home in order to save money on eating out in an effort to maintain the household budget hit by recession. Particularly, barbecue foods were the most preferred food.

According to a Research Analyst at RNCOS, “The Scottish retail sales were impressive in April, but it doesn’t indicate that the retail sector has revived. The growth in value lines displays that people are still not confident enough to spend freely and most of the sales have been achieved at the cost of huge price cuts. However, the retail sales will keep on growing on essential commodities.”

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