Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Scottish Christmas sales 'solid'

Shoppers walk past Christmas-themed window display
The Christmas trading period is crucial for retailers

Sales in Scotland's shops have shown an upturn rising by 4.3% in value in December.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said like-for-like sales, which do not take into account any new shops, grew by 1.4% compared with December last year.

Although better than the previous month, the sales figures trail those in the rest of the UK.

A spokesman for the consortium described the data as "solid" and said it was better than a year ago.

However, Richard Dodd of the SRC said the future for retailers was still uncertain.

He said: "Worries about jobs and tax rises haven't gone away. Like this week's milder weather, a decent December may only be an interlude rather than a permanent improvement."

The Scottish figures trailed the UK, which showed that total sales in December rose by 6% and like-for-like up by 4.2%.

Food sales

The consortium said food was the month's star performer with sales growth outstripping non-food goods for 24 months in a row.

It would be naïve to assume that this growth means we have turned a corner
David McCorquodale

Premium lines showed good gains with wines, fancy bakery, smoked salmon and cheeses all benefitting.

The cold snowy weather boosted sales of clothing and footwear and discounting also helped retailers shift stock.

But the weather also led to fewer people making the trip to the shops.

David McCorquodale, head of retail with the accountants, KPMG said: "It would be naïve to assume that this growth means we have turned the corner."

He added: "Scottish retailers will have to work harder than they already are to sustain these relatively positive results through 2010."

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