Total Scottish retail sales grew by 1.8% last month compared with September 2012, with total food sales up 2.3% and total non-food sales up 1.4% on a year earlier, according to figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium complied by KPMG.
But although September sales slowed down compared with recent months, the three-month average – at 3.1% – remained well ahead of the 12-month average at 1.2%. September’s total sales growth was lower in Scotland than in the UK, but the three-month averages remained very close.
Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “After a strong summer, these more subdued figures serve as a reminder that, while recent months have seen some shafts of light, the path to economic recovery remains fragile. While Scottish consumer confidence remained fairly stable in September, many of us are still cautious, and may be holding back on spending until Christmas gets closer.
“This is certainly a slowdown after an impressive run during the summer months, and highlights that conditions remain challenging. However, retailers are continuing to respond well to their customers’ needs, and will be hoping that this slight dip is reversed as we move into the crucial pre-Christmas trading period.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: “Every recovery suffers some form of setback and September’s sales figures in Scotland provide just that. Having matched UK total sales for the past three months, Scotland’s figures fell behind this month.
“Despite a setback, the forward momentum has been maintained in September and now the focus will be on the build-up to Christmas, with retailers determined to hold on to their margins as keenly as possible, while the ever-informed consumer holds out for a bargain. I look forward, with more confidence than trepidation, to a better Christmas on the High Street.”