August retail sales in Scotland 'best for four years'

fashion shop Fashion retailers were among high street businesses to benefit from good summer weather

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Growing consumer optimism about the economy lifted Scotland's retail sales to their best August performance for four years, according to new figures.

Total sales on the high street increased by 3.5% last month when compared with August last year.

Food saw the best sales growth at 3.6%, but fashion shops and garden centres also benefited from warm weather.

The Scottish Retail Consortium/KPMG figures also showed overall non-food sales up by 3.4% on the previous year.

Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) director Fiona Moriarty said: "The best August since 2009 has helped to keep the positive momentum going following a record-breaking July.

"Combined with a recent uplift in Scottish consumer confidence, the signs are that many of us are increasingly feeling more optimistic about the economy and responding well to retailers' targeted promotions and new ranges."

Taking account of shop-price deflation of 0.5%, August total sales were up 4% in real terms.

The three-month average for total sales growth in Scotland is now said to be in line with the UK, at 3.4%.

'Decent' sales

The latest sales monitor found clothing and footwear recorded "decent" sales in August.

The children's category was the strongest, due to a good start for the back-to-school season.

There was a broad rise in demand for furniture but sales of flooring were "disappointing".

Cooking accessories had a good month and demand for outdoor living items was only restricted by the availability of stock.

Electrical item sales gathered momentum in August too, with good demand for laptops and tablets from students.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said the "welcome warmth" of summer continued to boost the tills on the high street last month.

"As the sunshine continued and media reports hinted at increases in consumer confidence, shoppers responded to give retailers another positive month," he added.

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