Retail sales in Scotland hit by late Easter
Figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG show that total sales decreased by 2.5% compared with March 2013 while like-for-like sales dropped by 3.8%.
Total food sales declined by 3.5% with non-food sales decreasing by 1.8%.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: "Although these figures show a decline, they are stronger than expected given the fact that Easter will fall so late this year. A particularly strong performance in the fashion and footwear categories shows that shoppers are taking advantage of popular new collections on offer. Scottish retailers are working hard to respond to what customers want in this sector, and it is paying dividends.”
The SRC found that categories such as furniture and household accessories, which traditionally perform well over the extended Easter break, saw lower sales. In line with the rest of the UK, food sales were affected by intense competition within the category.
Lonsdale added: "These results follow a strong start to the year in January but retailers will be looking forward to April's results to see how this balances out over the period. Going further, retailers will be buoyed by the news that household income has finally caught up with inflation for the first time in nearly six years. The crucial factor is whether this trend will continue and also translate into higher levels of confidence and more transactions."
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