Scottish retailers suffer biggest fall in sales since 1999
There was a 1.5% drop in total sales for January compared to a year ago. This was the biggest fall for any month since 1999.
Like-for-like sales were 2.6% lower than a year ago representing the worst fall since May 2011 and the ninth decline in the past 12 months.
Although food sales rose 2.8%, the increase was outweighed by poor non-food sales which fell 5.5%.
The SRC said consumer confidence in Scotland remained lower than in the UK as a whole with sales falling more quickly in Scotland than elsewhere.
Discounts and clearance sales during the month failed to overcome consumer caution with sales of big ticket items such as furniture and homewares suffering most.
SRC director Ian Shearer said: "A sales decline on this scale sets alarm bells ringing for Scottish retailers.
"Combined, as it is, with some above-inflation cost pressures, there are potentially worrying implications for Scotland’s largest private-sector employer."
Shearer added: "Consumer confidence remains low, Scottish household incomes are being squeezed by increased utility and fuel prices, and continued fears over job prospects and the wider economy are front-of-mind for many - deterring purchases which are not immediate needs."
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