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The SRC survey shows food sales in April were 7.2 per cent lower in value terms on the same month of 2019

The value of Scottish retail sales in April was 15.6 per cent lower on the same period of 2019, even though trading was buoyed significantly by the reopening of non-essential stores in the final week of the month, latest industry figures show.

The Scottish Retail Consortium survey, published today, shows food sales in April were 7.2 per cent lower in value terms on the same month of 2019. Non-food sales, which tend to reflect more discretionary elements of consumer spending, were 22.7% lower in value terms.

Comparative figures for 2019, rather than last year, are being used by the SRC to show retail sales relative to the pre-pandemic period.

SRC director David Lonsdale said: Scottish retail sales remained in a funk last month, down by a sixth on the comparable pre-pandemic trading period two years ago. While the reopening of non-essential stores and associated pent-up demand in the final week of April provided a much-needed fillip, especially for fashion retailers, it couldn’t make up for the rest of the month.

Mr Lonsdale added: Clothing and footwear were the biggest beneficiaries of the reopening of stores after lockdown – as people were able to get out and visit their favourite shops, see items in person, and improve their wardrobes for the return of indoor and outdoor socialising in restaurants and pubs.

Outdoor clothing, knitwear, and footwear all saw an uptick, as Scots braved the cold weather for outdoor engagements with family and friends. Larger items of furniture, home textiles, and white goods fared well as customers were able to inspect, touch and feel products for the first time in months. Cosmetics did better than of late, but cookware came off the boil as people were able to return to eating out towards the end of the month, he said.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at accountancy firm and survey sponsor KPMG, said: We can expect the Scottish high street’s performance to improve in the months ahead.

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