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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 23:53 GMT 00:53 UK
Heat boosts food and drink sales
Sales of food and drink were strong in sunny July
Heatwave temperatures in Scotland last month helped boost sales of food and drink, figures have shown.

Retail statistics have revealed that the sunny weather saw people flocking to buy fresh produce, barbecue foods, beer, wine and soft drinks.

But consumers were more reluctant to purchase clothing and footwear.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said like-for-like sales for the month of July were 2.8% higher than for July last year.

Garden furniture also proved to be a big seller, as sales rose by 7.8% compared to last year.

Fans, fridges and discounted summer clothes also sold well
Fiona Moriarty
Scottish Retail Consortium

But there was a poor start to back-to-school selling, as parents postponed shopping trips, waiting for cooler weather.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "While July saw the poorest year-on-year growth in like-for-like sales since March, it was still well up on the first three months of the year and above the average for the year so far.

"Fans, fridges and discounted summer clothes also sold well but there was much less interest in 'indoor' goods like furniture and carpets.

"With costs rising well above inflation and the recent increase in interest rates, Scottish retailers will be hoping August sees a return to the strong sales growth of the last three months rather than any further slowdown."

Andrew McLaughlin, group chief economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said Scottish retailers were in for an uncertain future.

He added: "Given that higher energy prices are in the pipeline, and the recent interest rate rise is still to take effect, it remains to be seen whether or not consumers can maintain their current momentum."

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