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Scottish retailers enjoy better trade due to sunshine

Originally published: 22.07.2009

Sunny weather and clearance bargains have set the tills ringing in Scotland's high streets.

Despite ongoing economic gloom, the amount of money taken in Scottish shops last month was up more than 6per cent compared with the same period last year.

The rise was double that of the UK overall, which saw an increase of just over 3per cent.

Like-for-like sales figures - which excludes new store openings - were up by more than 2per cent .

However, while the increase in spending is good news for retailers in Glasgow's Buchanan Street and across the country, shoppers are still holding off from splashing out on more expensive, non essential products.

Richard Dodd from the Scottish Retail Consortium said: "Ignoring the Easter effect in April, sunny weather took June's total sales growth up to rates not seen since last August - a welcome bit of good news for Scottish retailers. The improvement on May's weak performance is particularly sharp.

"On sunny days people bought summer food, including salads, ice cream and barbecue meat, and the good weather combined with clearance discounts to help clothing sales.

"But this is no spending free-for-all. People are still unsure about jobs and their own personal finances.

"Customers are largely holding back from buying expensive non-essentials with many retailers selling carpets, furniture and homewares still looking for convincing signs of an upturn."

Sales of food saw the biggest rise, with the 10per cent boost put down to people indulging in summer treats and al fresco dining.

The Scottish Retail Consortium KPMG retail sales monitor also showed that while grocery shoppers are continuing to hunt for bargains they also treated themselves, with white and rosť wines, cider and lager the top sellers for drinkers.

Homewares were the toughest market, except for essentials such as cookware, while children's wear had the fashion sector's biggest gains.

Some health and beauty shops reported an upturn in the sales tissues and antibacterial ranges, linked to swine flu, while suncare and hay fever remedies were also flying off the shelves.

David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland, KPMG, said: "While there has been a significant improvement in both total and like-for-like sales this month, it would be wrong to assume that the retail sector is back to the strength of previous years.

"People continue to be cautious."


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