Analysis by audit professionals KPMG reveals that the demand for suntan lotion has contributed to a significant growth in retail sales in Scotland, which reached double digits for the first time in 2023.

In June, total sales increased by 11.3% compared to the same period in 2022 when they grew by 4.4%.

The 11.3% increase in June surpassed the three-month average growth of 10.5% and the 12-month average growth of 8.5%. However, when adjusted for inflation, year-on-year growth stood at 2.9%.

Retail sales growth had remained steady at around 9% every month throughout the first half of 2023.

Significant growth in food sales

Total food sales in Scotland experienced a remarkable increase of 15.8% in June compared to the same period in 2022, when they grew by 2.7%.

This growth aligns with the three-month average growth and exceeds the 12-month average growth of 12.2%.

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Positive outlook amid inflation concern

In June, total non-food sales rose by 7.5% compared to June 2022, when they had increased by 5.8%. This growth surpassed the three-month average increase of 6.1% and the 12-month average growth of 5.4%.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, expressed optimism regarding retail sales performance in Scotland. Despite a dip in shopper footfall, June showcased solid real terms growth in retail sales values, outpacing the figure for the UK as a whole.

Retailers can find solace in the fact that consumers are still spending, Lonsdale emphasised – as long as they can offer the right price.

Paul Martin, partner and UK head of retail at KPMG, attributed the growth to increased sales of suntan lotion, food and clothing driven by Scots taking advantage of record temperatures.

However, Martin noted that the growth is occurring against a backdrop of higher inflation levels, which are impacting margins and profitability across the retail sector.