Scottish shops catch up with British retailers

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SCOTLAND’S retail sales figures chalked up their best comparison with the UK since March 2011 as shoppers began digging deeper into their pockets, according to data released today.

Warmer weather and a “steady rise in consumer confidence” meant that Scottish total sales rose by 2.8 per cent year-on-year during June, almost matching the 2.9 per cent rise for the UK as a whole.

Like-for-like sales – which strip out the effects of stores opening or expanding their floor space – posted a more-subdued rise, increasing by 0.3 per cent in Scotland compared with a 1.4 per cent UK-wide boost.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, which compiled the figures, said: “Warmer weather and a steady rise in consumer confidence are key factors behind this encouraging improvement.”

Moriarty hailed the rise of the food sector, with total sales up by 4 per cent in June, while non-food sales rose by 1.8 per cent, their best performance since April 2011, driven by clothing and footwear.

The data came a day after Kantar’s monthly grocery sector report showed that the “big four” chains were coming under pressure from their smaller rivals.

Sainsbury’s was the only “big four” player to hang on to its market share, with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all on the back foot.

Their performance contrasted with that of up-market grocer Waitrose and discount outlets Aldi and Lidl. The Co-operative Group also grew its sales for the first time since February.