Boost to Scottish retail sales in March
Total Scottish retail sales increased by1.8% in March as sales were boosted by the earlier Easter this year. Like-for-like sales rose by 0.9%.
Figures released by the The Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG show that total food sales rose 5.2% on Mrach 2012. This matched January's growth, which had been the strongest since April 2011.
However, total non-food sales declined by 1.4% on a year earlier as the the prolonged cold snap hit sales of clothing and footwear sales, which recorded its worst performance since April 2012.
Taking account of shop price inflation at 1.4%, March total sales were up 0.3% in real terms.
Fiona Moriarty, director general of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "All in all, this is a decent showing which rounds off the best quarter for Scottish sales since March 2011. While Scottish sales growth still lags behind the UK as a whole, this puts both the like-for-like and total three-month average firmly back into positive territory after a fairly subdued February.
"The chilly conditions spelled bad news for fashion retailers, putting demand for the new season clothing and footwear ranges on ice for much of the month and resulting in a decline for the category. But food fared better, as the continuing cold fuelled demand for ‘winter warmers' and family and friends got together to celebrate Easter."
While Scottish growth remained below that of the UK, the three-month average growth for Scotland continued to improve with the strongest since April 2011.
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, added: "Total sales growth of 1.8% will be welcomed by Scottish retailers but the trend is impacted by an early Easter and extended winter weather.
"The first quarter gave the strongest start to a year since 2011 and retailers will now be hoping their fortunes improve as the weather heats up. The coming months will give us a far greater insight into the wider market resilience but after a good start to 2013 there will be hope of more to come."
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