There are reports from numerous sources heralding the beginning of the end for the home improvement industry due to a fierce decline in demand, but the outlook is less bleak in Scotland. According to reports by the BBC all retailers in Scotland were seeing a slight recovery in March after a fearsome dip in spending during February this year.
According to figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium most stores in Scotland are doing better than outlets in other parts of the UK. Compared with like-for-like sales last year during the same period, Scottish retailers have benefited slightly from a 0.5% rise in spending and the BBC News website reported that: “In contrast, UK-wide figures for March show a drop of 1.2% from the same time last year.”
Garden Improvements Aid Relief
The reason for this rise in spending has been cited as being a warm spring with many sales being garden, picnic or barbeque related. The Scottish Retail Consortium’s director, Fiona Moriarty, commented on the slight increase in interest from consumers: “Retailers are hoping the increase in sales growth is the first sign of a spring boost but this doesn’t mean the Scottish economy has turned a corner.” she said.
She also added: “Conditions remain tough for customers and retailers. Retailers want the Budget to help, not hinder, this glimpse of revival in consumer confidence.” Moriarty also stressed that home improvement and garden items were still not faring as well as some other markets, commenting: “While food sales continued to grow and new season fashions did well, most non-food retailing struggled – especially expensive items, such as furniture and floorings.”
So, while some Scots seem happy to spend on spring time luxuries such as some patio furniture or a new barbeque they are not lifting the home improvement and DIY markets enough to preserve the industry’s future. Further job losses and closures for small businesses whose livelihood rely on home improvement demand are therefore still expected.