New car demand drives leap in retail sales

Scottish retail sales rose in September as higher food prices led to a “bumper” month for grocers and healthy demand for clothes and smartphones helped to slow the decline in non-food sales.

Sales increased by 1 per cent on a like-for-like basis in September and total sales rose by 1.1 per cent compared with September 2016, according to the Scottish Retail Sales Monitor. Total food sales rose by 5 per cent, taking the 12-month average growth in food to 2.7 per cent, the highest since December 2013, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG, which compiles the sales monitor.

“Price inflation undoubtedly continues to be a key driver of this growth,” Craig Cavin, head of retail for KPMG in Scotland, said.

The rate of inflation reached a five-year high in September, according to Office for National Statistics figures released yesterday. The consumer prices index rose to 3 per cent last month, up from 2.9 per cent in August.

Total non-food sales fell 2 per cent in September, a slower pace of decline than the 12-month average of 2.7 per cent. Non-food sales rose 0.4 per cent, according to the sales monitor.