An ‘Easter bounce’ helped retailers in Scotland record their best monthly sales of the year in April.
New figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG, published today, show Scottish sales increased by 3.9% last month compared to April last year, when they had decreased by 3.8%.
This was positively impacted by the timing of Easter, which was in April this year but March last year.
Total sales in Scotland increased by 4.4% compared with last year when they had decreased by 3.4%.
Food sales increased by 8.6% and non-food sales rose by 0.8% against April 2018.
Ewan MacDonald Russell, head of policy and external affairs at Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “An Easter bounce for retailers with April’s Scottish sales figures the best of 2019.
“Whilst the figures were flattered by the distortion caused by the run-up to Easter falling in March last year there does seem to have been a small bounce in consumer spending which will raise spirits on the High Street after what feels like a very long and flat winter.
“Easter weekend is always a strong time for food sales and that’s reflected in an 8.6% rise on the 2019 figures.
“A large portion of that rise is due to Easter and school holidays falling differently this year, but it’s a strong result during an important trading period for food and drink retailers.”
Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales increased by 2% in April versus April 2018, when they had decreased by 3.7%.
Mr MacDonald Russell said feedback from retailers was that consumers were purchasing more health products and putting off large purchases.
“Businesses noted that whilst traditional foods did well, there was a rise in consumers looking at healthier alternatives,” he added.
“Non-food sales were also positive in April, although not to the same degree.
“Overall consumers limited that spending to smaller items and we are concerned they are continuing to defer larger spending; reflecting household finances continue to be under pressure.
“With that in mind it’s important policymakers continue to keep consumers at the front of their minds as they consider any further initiatives which could hit those households.”