May saw total Scottish sales decrease by 1.6% compared with May 2013 according to the latest SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor. In May of last year they had increased by 0.8%.
On a like-for-like basis, sales decreased by 2.7% on last May, when they had decreased by 0.5%. Taking account of shop price deflation, May total sales were down 0.2% in real terms.
Total Food sales were 2.0% down on May 2013, when they had increased 1.5%. Over the last 3 months, total Food sales declined by 1.6%, in contrast with a 12-month average growth of 1.33.
Total Non-Food sales decreased by 1.4% on a year earlier when they had increased 0.2%. Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales in Scotland, total Non-Food sales would have increased by 0.8%. Over the last three months, adjusted Non-Food sales increased 1.1% against 2.8% over the last twelve months.
Adjusted for deflation measured by the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, Total Scottish sales declined 0.2% in May, the lowest performance since Christmas, excluding Easter distortions.
David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Despite the return of shoppers to Scotland's high streets last month, the growth in footfall simply didn't filter through into an increase in the overall value of retail sales. Scottish consumers clearly remain cautious.
"Clothing and footwear retailers who offered good ranges continued to perform well off the back of new seasonal lines. Adjusted for the contribution of online retailing, non-food sales in general increased however shops reported that sales of items for homes and gardens dipped in May. This, coupled with continuing keen prices and promotions for food, ensured that the total growth of sales in Scotland was weaker than across the UK as a whole.
"Retailers will of course work hard to ensure this slowdown is only temporary. Government at every level can assist by pursuing policies which put money into people's pockets, keep down the cost of doing business, and help retailers expand and create jobs."