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Falling clothing sales in Scotland spark calls of 'alarm'

Non-food sales saw a 4.4% drop year on year in February 2017, according to figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium, as consumers “tighten their belts” in a tough economic climate.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said the year had got off to a “sluggish” start for retailers. Commenting on the findings, he said: “In recent months we’ve seen a polarisation in the performance of food and non-food categories; which continued in February. Non-food categories fell back once again, particularly clothing, footwear.

“These figures suggest Scottish consumers are maybe beginning to tighten their belts and acknowledge the strain from rising overall inflation and moderating wage growth, with council tax set to creep up soon too.”

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, commented: “Non-food numbers continue to alarm, with the early sales instigated by retailers in November and December weighing heavily in 2017. In a troubling sign, non-food numbers adjusted for online sales were in the red for two consecutive months – something which did not happen in 2016.”

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