Page last updated at 00:02 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 01:02 UK

Easter boosts food spending for Scotland's shops

Easter eggs
Food sales grew by 5.9% over Easter

The latest sales figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium have shown total sales grew 3.9% during March.

Like-for-like sales which strip out new store openings increased by 0.6%.

The growth in Scotland lags behind the rest of the UK which showed an increase in total sales of 6.6% and like-for-like up 4.4%.

The retail consortium described the figures as "disappointing" and suggested the recession had a tighter grip in Scotland.

The consortium said it had expected the figures to be stronger because of Easter.

David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland, KPMG, said: "The timing of the majority of Easter spending, falling into the March 2010 period but in April last year, ought to have boosted this month's figures.

Pre-election uncertainty over spending cuts is having a disproportionately severe effect on Scottish customers' willingness to shop
Richard Dodd
Scottish Retail Consortium

"Without this uplift an even gloomier picture would have emerged - concern about the future continues to weigh on consumers' minds and the outlook for spending remains uncertain."

While spending on food and drink rose by 5.9% in March, there was weak growth in other areas, especially clothing and footwear.

Overall, all non-food sales grew by 2.2% and like-for-like sales shrank by 0.4%.

Richard Dodd, Scottish Retail Consortium head of media, said: "Another burst of wintry weather late in the month undermined new season ranges but weakening consumer confidence was the main problem.

"With a bigger proportion of Scottish jobs in the public sector than for the UK as a whole, pre-election uncertainty over spending cuts is having a disproportionately severe effect on Scottish customers' willingness to shop."

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