The official retail figures for February have shown an increase in sales for a third month in a row, suggesting there could be grounds for optimism in the sector.
The data, from the Scottish Retail Consortium’s Retail Sales Monitor, showed that sales rose by 0.7 per cent in the month.
The SRC’s David Martin said:
“This is an encouraging result with February being the third consecutive month of Scottish sales growth and the best three-month average in nearly two years.”
However, the head of policy did also have a warning for the sector, still struggling to adapt to modern stresses for commercial finance in Scotland.
When taking inflation into account, real term sales were down. Like-for-like sales were also down, by 0.1 per cent, and non-food sales down by 0.5 per cent. Martin continued:
“However, total sales didn’t measure up well against those in January and in real terms were down 0.3%. This reminds us that the economy and trading environment remains fragile.”
The SRC also issued a warning of the continued gap between Scottish and UK sales figures which, though remaining stable, put the country significantly behind the national landscape.
Helping with the fragility of the environment though, many retailers are shoring up their cash flow with the help of Edinburgh factoring companies.
The co-authors of the report, KPMG, also suggested that retailers could feel optimistic for the future. Citing Mother’s Day and Easter, as well as a budget set to stimulate consumer spending, the professional services firm said spring could see new growth in the sector flourish.