Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 08:07 UK

Strong rise in Scots retail sales

Scottish bank notes
Warmer weather contributed to the boost in March sales

Retail sales in Scotland rose strongly in April compared with the same time last year, according to figures.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said the timing of Easter and warmer weather had helped boost sales.

It said total sales were up by 8.2%. Comparing shops that were counted last year and this, the rise was 4.3%.

Recently, rising food prices have kept spending totals buoyant, but this was the first time since last May there was a reported rise in non-food sales.

Last year, Easter - which helps sales - was in March, and the April weather was much poorer than the unusually high temperatures last month.

Total sales in Scotland out-performed the UK as a whole, with Scottish consumer confidence holding up slightly better than the rest of the UK
Fiona Moriarty
Scottish Retail Consortium

Those two factors were emphasised by SRC director Fiona Moriarty. "These are strong figures but it's too soon to say we've turned the corner," she said.

"This April was Scotland's third warmest since 1914, which boosted sales of summer clothes and footwear. But expensive items, such as furniture, struggled to sell because of the weak housing market and jobs uncertainty.

"Total sales in Scotland out-performed the UK as a whole, with Scottish consumer confidence holding up slightly better than the rest of the UK."

Removing the timing of Easter and unusual weather, the February to April average of sales showed the total up by 5% on the same period last year. Like-for-like sales were up 1.2%.

Value products

The equivalent Britain-wide figures from the British Retail Consortium were 2.2% and 0.4% up.

Breaking down by retail sector, food and drink data showed shoppers continuing to search out special deals and good value, particularly in areas where unemployment was hitting household budgets.

Clothing was helped by discounts and promotions, attracting people into stores looking for summer options.

Versatile, casual styles of clothes and shoes out-performed more formal ranges. Children's wear and accessories, such as handbags, continued to do relatively well.

Do-it-yourself stores have found it tough in recent months, but the SRC reported some improvement - less in discretionary and decorative ranges than essentials, replacements and practical items.

In the health and beauty sector, good weather boosted sun care and hay fever products.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific