By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISH retail sales in August were up by 3.2 per cent on the same month of last year in value terms but remained far adrift of their pre-pandemic level, industry figures show.

The Scottish Retail Consortium, publishing the figures, said the lifting of restrictions had been “a let-down” as “summer sales stutter”. It noted the weakness of sales in August last year. The value of retail sales in August 2020 was down 7.5% on the same month of 2019.

The value of Scottish retail sales this July was up by 7.4% on the same month of 2020, so there was a sharp slowing of year-on year growth last month.

Food sales value in Scotland in August was up only 0.5% on the same month of last year. The value of non-food sales, which tend to reflect more discretionary elements of consumer spending, was up 5.4% on August 2020.

SRC director David Lonsdale said: “August witnessed a further uptick in Scottish retail sales compared to the admittedly sombre comparable month last year, albeit the performance was softer than earlier in the summer and much of the momentum dissipated. The ending of physical distancing and removal of the cap on numbers allowed in-store a third of the way through the month failed to bring the anticipated boost.”

He added: “Fashion categories such as clothing, footwear and cosmetics were the standout performers, bolstered by the return of socialising and occasions such as weddings, along with staycations, the good weather, and the return to school. Other non-food categories saw sales wane.”