SCOTTISH retail sales were last month down by 2.3 per cent on June 2018 in value terms, the latest industry figures show.

The Scottish Retail Consortium’s latest survey, published today, highlights particular weakness in non-food sales, which tend to reflect more discretionary elements of spending. And, at a time when Brexit remains at the forefront of many consumers’ minds, the SRC flagged tough trading for fashion retailers amid “intense political and economic volatility”.

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However, the SRC also observed weakness in the grocery sector.

Non-food sales value in June was down by 4.8% on the same month of last year.

Food sales last month were up by just 0.8% on June 2018 in value terms. And, taking into account inflation in the grocery sector, the SRC noted that food sales in June were down on the same month of last year in real terms.

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Ewan MacDonald Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said: “Food sales continue to slide, with a real-terms fall this month once inflation is stripped out. There is also evidence consumer trends are very different this year, with shoppers swapping frozen and barbecue food for more warming alternatives.”

He added: “Non-food also saw this phenomenon [of different consumer trends], with home products outperforming last year at the expense of outdoor goods.

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“Fashion sales continue to be quite poor, however, with retailers reporting even discounted products underperforming expectations.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at accountancy firm and SRC survey sponsor KPMG, said: “The latest figures provide further evidence that growing economic and political uncertainty is taking its toll on Scotland’s high streets.

“While non-food sales fell victim to the largest dip, food retailers are far from immune from the difficult trading conditions, with another flat performance.”

A British Retail Consortium survey last week showed sales value in the UK as a whole in June was down by 1.3% on the same month of 2018. The value of Scottish retail sales in May was down by 3.1% on the same month of last year.

Mr Martin said: "The overall picture offers little optimism for a sector that’s already facing wide-ranging challenges."