THE value of Scottish retail sales in August was up by one per cent on the same month of last year, the latest industry figures show, but the non-food category remained in decline.

Publishing its latest monthly survey, the Scottish Retail Consortium noted the overall year-on-year rise in sales value had been achieved against a weak August 2016. Retail sales value in August 2016 was down by 2.2 per cent on a year earlier.

The SRC flagged pressure on household incomes.

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The year-on-year rise in retail sales value in Scotland in August was adrift of a corresponding 2.4 per cent increase in the UK as a whole reported last week by the British Retail Consortium.

Food sales value in Scotland last month was up 4.1 per cent on August 2016, the SRC figures show.

And non-food sales value in August was down by 1.5 per cent on the same month of last year, albeit this was a less-steep drop than the 2.7 per cent average decline over the latest 12 months.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said: “Food continued to perform well with a year-on-year increase of 4.1 per cent, albeit that continues to be partially driven by food price inflation of 1.3 per cent. The non-food sales decline of 1.5 percent was an improvement over the 12-month average of -2.7 per cent, with household textiles and back-to-school ranges performing well.”

However, he added: “It’s important to note both food and non-food are being compared to a very poor August in 2016. Therefore, the apparent spike in performance may well be a statistical quirk rather than evidence of sustained sales improvement.”

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland at accountant and survey sponsor KPMG, said: “Despite home furnishings, TVs and fridges all selling well as consumers prepare their houses for the longer autumnal evenings, other non-food remained in decline.”