Scottish retail sales growth speeds up in January
Scottish retail sales grew at their best rate in nearly two years in January 2013 driven by an increase in food and drink sales.
Figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium show that total Scottish sales increased by 2.1% compared with January 2012 while like-for-like sales rose by 1.1%. Taking account of shop price inflation at 0.6%, the SRC said that January total sales were up 1.5% in real terms.
For both measures, this represented the best growth in 21 months.
Fiona Moriarty, director of the SRC, said: "After battling consistently tough conditions through most of 2012, this is good news for Scottish retailers.
"The healthier pace of sales that finally developed in December, gathered momentum in January to produce the strongest year-on-year growth since April 2011.
"The comparison with January 2012, when sales growth was negative, also helped the overall figures. But, even so, this is an encouraging start to what's still likely to be a challenging 2013. The key question now is: is this just a blip or dare we hope it signals the start of a lasting revival for customers and retailers."
Total food sales rose 5.2% on January 2012, the strongest growth since April 2011. In real terms, food sales were up 1.2%.
Total non-food sales declined by 0.7% on a year earlier when they had decreased by 5.5%.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "January's sales figures are the best we have seen in close to two years. With like-for-like sales up 1.1% last month, they built encouragingly on the modest progress made in December.
"Total food and drink sales were up 5.2%, with comfort food selling strongly around the New Year, while detox diets provided a boost for fruit and veg sales. Meanwhile Scotch whisky experienced strong demand around Burns night, and homewares, which was the worst affected area last year, also saw increased levels of demand.
"It is still far too early to read too much into the figures, but this is a welcome and positive start of 2013."
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