Scottish retail sales were resilient in March as high street shops recorded positive growth.
The BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI), published today, shows Scottish sales decreased by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis compared with March 2018.
Food sales dipped 0.2% compared to last year while non-food sales increased by 0.7% compared to 12 months ago.
David Lonsdale, director of Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Scottish retail sales were resilient in March despite Easter falling in April this year.
“Although there was a real-terms fall of 0.6%, high street retailers saw some positive growth and there is cause for cautious optimism looking ahead with Easter and school holidays to be factored in to April.
“Food sales were essentially flat, due to a combination of Easter falling in April and continued food price inflation.
“In essence volumes were down but that was offset by the higher value of sales as retailers have to pass on a portion of their increased costs to consumers.”
Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales increased by 1.3% last month against March 2018.
“Non-food sales rose despite consumer uncertainty continuing to impact on large discretionary purchases,” Mr Lonsdale added.
“Nonetheless smaller home purchases did well in the month, with DIY and gardening products selling well as Scots looked to improve their homes.
“Mother’s Day was more mixed, with good sales of jewellery and watches being offset by weaker performance in beauty products.
“Overall retailers will be relieved trading was better than last year, and there was no repeat of the Beast from the East.”
He said April would be an important month for retailers, with Easter sales providing an opportunity to encourage consumers to spend.