The good weather that Scotland enjoyed throughout March has seen the retail sector enjoy its best performance since Christmas.
The total sales for the month were also up by 1.8% against the same period for 2011, whilst like-for-like figures showed a rise of nearly 1%.
Food sales grew, whilst the warmer weather also boosted clothing sales. There was also an increase in the purchase of goods associated with outdoor pursuits. Commenting on the news, the director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said:
“The unusually early sunshine encouraged people to start buying summer clothes and shoes, outdoor furniture and gardening supplies. Food retailers benefited from sales of barbecue meats, salads and ice-cream.”
However, larger purchases still remained flat, whilst the increases seen in the country were significantly below that of the national average. Alluding to this, Ian Shearer went on to say:
“Scotland’s total sales grew at only half the rate of the UK as a whole and show Scottish retailers continue to face exceptionally tough conditions…”
There are also fears that the extra spending in the month will be countered by lower levels later on in the year, with summer supplies already having been bought by many.
It is good news on the whole, but Scottish retailers still require a lot of financial support, which many are finding through facilities such as invoice discounting.
Sustained growth is what is really needed and whilst a few warm weeks help, a repeat of last year’s rise in tourism numbers is what the Scottish high street is really hoping for.