Retailers across Scotland lost £1.9 billion of sales during the first four months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) analysis, based on its own and Scottish Government data, shows four successive months of double-digit decline between March and June.
Figures from 2018 estimate sales over that four-month period were £7.65 billion and there has been a drop worth more than £1.9 billion in 2020.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: “These figures are stark and show that retail sales crumbled over the first four months of the pandemic.
“Not all retail sub-sectors were impacted equally, with fashion, clothing and footwear faring particularly poorly.
“Shops and retail jobs depend on the ongoing patronage of the public and whilst the situation is gradually improving, it remains particularly acute in our city centres where stores are suffering huge drops in footfall.”
He added: “Any prolonged absence of office workers, students and tourists from Scotland’s city centres will be hugely challenging for retail and hospitality businesses who rely on their custom, and who often already face high property costs.
“This will have consequences for jobs, vacant premises, and tax revenues.”
Scottish retail sales improved in June compared with recent months but were still down almost a fifth on the same period last year.
They also lagged behind the UK as a whole.
Non-essential shops in Scotland were permitted to reopen from June 29, with stores in shopping centres allowed to reopen from July 13.
SRC figures show April – the first full month of lockdown – as having the greatest drop in sales at 40%, which the organisation estimates is worth £740 million.
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