Scottish Retail Consortium blames Olympics for poor sales

Channel NewsRetail

Never mind the economy, it was those nasty Olympics

Retail sales in Scotland fell in August, and the Scottish Retail Consortium is blaming the Olympics.

A Consortium report noted that while Scots increased their spending on food, they actually stopped buying non-food items, such as consumer electronics.

This suggested to the Consortium that people were sitting in front of the TV eating lots of food, but forgetting to buy more important things.

It was a little warm in the middle of the month for this time of year and that also dampened demand for autumn and winter clothes.

It is a pretty unlikely excuse and one of the more silly reports we have read. It mentioned that non-food sales have declined by 6.7 percent over 24 months which is the worst since the survey started in 1999. In other words the fall in retail spending had dropped 16 months ago, long before the Olympics came on the telly and will probably go on long after.

Generally retail sales growth north of the border is bleak and 2.5 percent lower than the average UK figure.

The SRC said there was no sign that the gap would be closing any time soon, even if the Olympics have packed in.

Ironically Richard Lim, SRC economist told the BBC that the Olympics created a feel-good factor but also a major distraction from shopping.

Retailers are now hoping that money not spent this summer will make it to tills in the run-up to Christmas.

David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland at KPMG, told the Beeb that August is traditionally a weak month for sales and it’s really the next three months that will have a critical impact on retailers’ profitability.

So, then, really noting to do with the Olympics at all. The Consortium would have been better off blaming midges, or badgers for their woes – at least they have been effecting Scotland for the last 16 months whereas the Olympics were only there in August.


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