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17 December 2014, 00:02
Sales figures dipped in November despite a Black Friday boost at the end of the month, according to a new report.
Overall sales were 1.4% lower than November 2013 with like-for-like sales - which exclude factors such as new store openings - down by 2.6%.
Despite this, total Scottish sales increased slightly by 0.4% when figures are adjusted for deflation.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), said: "The welcome rise in Scottish footfall last month didn't lead to a commensurate increase in the actual total value of retail sales in shops.
"That said, once the effects of shop price inflation are taken into account, the value of retail sales in Scotland did grow, edging up by 0.4%.''
Total food sales in November were 2.3% lower than they had been a year ago, according to the SRC KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, with like-for-like sales down by 3.8%.
Non-food items fared better, with total sales falling 0.7% and like-for-like sales dropping by 1.6%.
Taking into account the estimated effect of online sales in Scotland, total non-food sales would have increased by 0.9%.
Mr Lonsdale said: "The bright spots once again were items such as furniture and household appliances, which recorded their best performance since January, with gaming and beauty products also doing well driven by early demand ahead of the festive season.
"Once again online sales, with double digit growth recorded on and around 'Black Friday' at the end of last month, dragged the overall 'non-food' category into healthy territory which recorded growth of 0.9%.
"Food sales continued to disappoint, although retailers noticed early evidence of speciality food items being purchased particularly towards the end of last month, which are likely to be Christmas-related purchases.''
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "The weather and consumer behaviour is piling pressure on retailers to deliver Christmas cheer.
"The decline in November sales shows how hard retail has to fight for share of family wallet.
"With mild weather continuing in November and consumers opting to wait for a bargain before spending, fashion retailers used Black Friday as an outlet to reduce prices, drive volumes and clear stocks.
"Grocery remained in its competitive doldrums this month, leaving the household appliances and furniture categories to provide the bright light in a challenging month.''