Scottish retail sales increased 3.4 per cent year-on-year in April, with the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) attributing the rise in trading to unseasonably warm weather and a later Easter.
According to the latest SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor, the popularity of food, clothing & footwear and outdoor DIY and leisure products drove sales during the month as Scotland experienced its hottest April since 1910.
Big ticket items are still selling slowly though, with consumer confidence north of the border said to be lower than that of the UK as a whole.
Director of the SRC Fiona Moriarty commented: “Unseasonably warm, sunny weather and more bank holidays in the month because of the royal wedding and the later Easter meant this April gave customers more opportunities and more reasons to shop than the same period last year.
“Overall, April’s solid sales growth is good news after very weak figures in March but the fundamentals have not changed. Underlying conditions for customers and retailers will go on being tough for many months yet.”
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail in Scotland, KPMG, suggested that it is “far too early” to say if April’s figures are the start of longer-term trend or whether they are predominately due to favourable comparisons with last year.
“Food & drink sales were up by 6.6 per cent, reflecting the Easter spending and bank holiday fun as well as an inflationary swing,” he remarked.
“Non-food sales on the other hand were only up by 0.5 per cent with the uplift in summer clothing & footwear sales being offset by a decline in sales of homewares.”
Official figures published by the Scottish government earlier this month showed that the volume of retail sales at basic prices in Scotland fell by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, but grew by 2.4 per cent annually on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The value of retail sales increased by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, and by 3.7 per cent when seasonally adjusted.