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Commenting on today’s ONS Retail Sales figures

Posted: 21st January 2022

Commenting on today’s ONS Retail Sales figures, Euan Murray, relationship director and retail sector expert at Barclays Corporate Banking, Scotland said:

“The last month of 2021 felt very different to December of the year before, with people allowed to gather and celebrate with the easing of Covid restrictions. This increased freedom helped drive spend in some areas of retail, with festive food and drink performing well in Scotland. Sales of health and sports equipment were also strong as people sought to kit out ahead of their New Year’s resolutions. Electrical sales saw a noticeable drop in December, as supply chain issues impacted on cost and availability. Many people had also already invested heavily in home entertainment during the previous months of lockdown, which further impacted on consumer demand for electrical goods.”

“Online spend fluctuated in the weeks before Christmas, as issues around supply and delivery initially drove many consumers to the high street to make sure their presents were secured in time for the holidays, before the Omicron variant then hit consumer confidence and footfall on the high street in the latter half of the month. The changing patterns seen in retail in December demonstrate how flexibly consumers in Scotland can shop, and how quickly they can adapt their spending habits to online and physical stores.”

“Whilst the value of consumer purchases rose significantly (up 5.7% year-on-year) the volume of goods sold was actually down 0.9%, demonstrating the clear impact of rising prices on consumers in the run up to Christmas. Looking forward retailers will be considering how they can maintain consumer confidence so that spending continues in light of inflationary pressures.”


Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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