Retail news round-up on May 20, 2015: Scottish retail sales down, Walmart’s first-quarter profits slump, Which? accuses grocers still misleading shoppers, and more.
Scottish retail sales down almost 3% in April
Scottish retail sales slumped 2.9% year-on-year last month in spite of a strong performance by fashion and footwear stores, reported the BBC. In April, food sales fell 4.6%, while non-food sales dropped 1.5%, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium. Clothing sales had been boosted by the sunniest April for 70 years.
Which? accuses grocers still misleading shoppers with ‘dodgy’ offers
Which? has alleged that supermarkets are continuing to fool shoppers by luring them with ‘dodgy’ and misleading special offers, the Guardian reported. The UK consumer group has published further evidence of pricing practices used persistently by retailers to create the illusion of savings that do not exist, thereby manipulating consumers’ spending and duping them out of hundreds of millions of pounds.
It also highlighted pricing practices which could be breaching government guidelines, including ‘continuing offers’, where products are on offer longer than they were sold at the higher price. This makes it appear that customers are getting a discount, when the lower ‘discount’ price is probably a more accurate reflection of the value of the product.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Retailers are continuing to pull the wool over shoppers’ eyes with dodgy discounts that just don’t stack up.”
TRO scheme comes to Scotland
The Retail Ombudsman (TRO) scheme, which aims to settle disputes between consumers and retailers, is being rolled out in Scotland, reported the Daily Record. The independent body has now had its powers extended to include Scotland.
Chief Ombudsman Dean Dunham said: “We are delighted to be able to help retailers and consumers in Scotland to resolve their disputes quickly, simply and cheaply.”
Walmart’s first-quarter profits slump 7%
Walmart’s quarterly profits slumped 7% amid sluggish sales, missing Wall Street estimates. The retailer blamed e-commerce spending, currency fluctuations and pay raises for the fall in figures. The company also reported a 1.1% rise for a key sales measure at its US Walmart stores, its third consecutive quarter of increases.