Scottish Non-food sales slump
Total sales were 1.6% up on a year ago, when they had risen 1.9%.
Like-for-like food sales picked up to just above their year-earlier level after a poor January. Clothing and footwear remained well down on a year ago. Hit by renewed consumer caution, homewares and furniture sales fell back sharply after January's clearance and pre-VAT rise boost.
As in the UK, overall like-for-like sales weakened further to show a year-on-year decline. Consumer confidence was still much weaker in Scotland than in the UK as a whole, though had fallen at about the same pace in both.
Fiona Moriarty, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Trading conditions are getting steadily tougher.
"This is the weakest Scottish sales growth since last October and even poorer than it looks when the inflationary impact of the VAT rise is taken into account.
"Worsening sales of non-food goods were to blame. Expensive items were hardest hit. With fears about public spending cuts and future finances more widespread, Scottish customers are less confident than those in other parts of the UK and becoming more gloomy.
"After a poor January, when people were using up stocks bought in earlier to beat the bad weather, food sales recovered – people have to eat. But they are increasingly reluctant to spend on things that are not 'needs'."
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