Mixed March For Retailers Amid Overall Sales Dip

Scotland's retailers experienced a mixed month in March, although overall sales were down, according to the latest figures.

Covering the five weeks to April 2, total sales fell by 1.3% compared with the same period last year, when they had declined by 0.1%.

However, there was an increase when it came to non-food items, excluding fashion, with household goods such as furniture and flooring doing well.

The findings were contained in the latest SRC-KPMG Scottish retail sales monitor.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "While it's disappointing to see Scottish retail sales chalk up another month of decline, we did fare better than the rest of the UK in March which suffered a much deeper slowdown in sales.

"Customers, it seems, are feeling increasingly ready to invest in larger items and homewares.

"Food and clothing sales were both negative and likely impacted by the very early Easter which will have distorted shopping patterns.

"In brighter news, food and non-food were both above the three-month average and, once adjusted for the effect of online sales in Scotland, non-food sales saw a healthy increase of 1.2%.

"As we look toward the elections to the Scottish Parliament it's vital that, whomever forms the next government, they don't add to the thicket of red tape and taxes levied on retailers, and that they act to strengthen what appears to be a nascent recovery in consumer confidence.''

Fashion and footwear were the worst performers, with the category registering its worst decline since May 2015 which report authors said was influenced by the early Easter.

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