By Daniel Hunter
In June 2013 total Scottish sales increased by 2.8% compared with June 2012, when they had increased by 1.2%. Like-for-like sales increased by 0.3% on last June, when they had been flat. Taking account of shop price deflation at 0.2%, June total sales were up 3.0% in real terms.
June saw the best growth in total sales since April 2011. Year-to-date, total sales grew 1.1%, showing an acceleration over the 12-month average of 0.5%, driven by both Food and Non-Food.
Total food sales were 4.0% up on June 2012, when they had increased 3.0%. Total non-food sales increased by 1.8% on a year earlier when they had decreased by 0.5%. This was the best performance recorded since April 2011, driven by Clothing and Footwear.
Total sales growth was broadly in line with that of the UK, the best comparison since March 2011, apart from last Christmas.
Fiona Moriarty, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "It's really positive to see that the tentative boost in May gathered strong momentum in June, propelling Scottish sales growth to a level almost in line with the rest of the UK and its highest since April 2011. Warmer weather and a steady rise in consumer confidence are key factors behind this encouraging improvement.
"Food was the stand-out performer in a month where all categories posted good results. Growth was comfortably above inflation and higher than the UK average, suggesting that sunshine and cautious optimism about the economy put many of us in the mood to stock up on seasonal, barbeque and celebratory food.
"Non-food also saw a major improvement, reflecting that Scottish shoppers are still responding well to targeted promotions, whilst also catching up on updating their wardrobes for summer after putting off purchases during the prolonged cold snap in Spring.
"Retailers' spirits will be buoyed by this strong showing which is well above the annual and six-month averages and chimes with the decent footfall growth we saw earlier this week. Hopefully the good weather and improving economic outlook will deliver more of the same in July."
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "The warm glow of summer is finally being felt on the Scottish high streets. Both food and non-food sales combined to give the strongest growth in total sales in Scotland since April 2011 - and a very welcome cheer for our retailers.
"After 18 consecutive months (excluding Christmas) of shrinkage in total non-food sales, retailers have enjoyed a second consecutive month of non-food sales growth, with footwear and fashion leading the charge. After a bitterly cold and wet Spring, summer fashions are finally picking up. Clearance sales and promotions may have helped drive footfall but there is no doubt that some sunshine helped to recover the lost sales of spring. Food sales encouragingly exceeded inflation also.
"Economic recovery in current climes is a long, relentless journey. However, there are signs in 2013 that consumers are feeling just a little more confident, more secure in their employment and retailers are working hard to provide an outlet for that confidence. I've mentioned swallows and summers before but am encouraged by June's figures to predict further growth in the third quarter."
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