Romance lends retailers a hand

Consumers still face cost pressures

FOOD sales, aided by Valentine’s Day, saw Scottish retail sales perform well in February ahead of the disruption caused by snow according to the latest Scottish Retail ConsortiumKPMG retail sales monitor.

Scottish sales were up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis compared to February 2017.

Total food sales were up by 3.5% against the same month a year earlier. This is below the three-month average of 4.1% and took the 12-month growth to 4.3%, the highest since May 2011.

SRC director David Lonsdale said: “While inflationary pressures on food prices appear to have crested and are beginning to ease, it is too soon to say whether this is set to correspond with greater spending on more discretionary retail items.

“After all, Scotland’s shoppers face a number of headwinds over the coming months, notably higher council and income taxes and inflation continuing to outstrip the growth in wages.”

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG added: “Following a challenging January, Scottish retailers will be cautiously optimistic as figures show signs of improvement this month.”