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Scottish clothing sales record worst decline since May

Scottish retail sales grew at a slower rate in November than in the rest of the UK for the third consecutive month with clothing sales dropping to their lowest levels since May.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said total sales were up by 2.8% and like-for-like sales fell by 0.6%.

In the same period, UK like-for-like sales were up 1.8%.

During November clothing sales were disappointing for many according to the SRC, falling further below last year, to show the worst decline since May. The mild weather, against a colder November last year, hit demand for winter coats, heavy knitwear and warm accessories.

Heavy discounting and special Sale sales days failed to tempt customers according to the SRC. Menswear suffered more than womenswear, while kidswear continued to outperform.

The SRC said as well as being seen as more essential, kidswear also received a boost from some parents taking advantage of discounts to stock up for their children.

On the footwear front, unseasonably mild weather put people off buying winter shoes and boots, especially smarter and formal styles. Fashion-led and casual styles were more popular, and wet weather did boost boot sales for some, but for most, even aggressive discounts did not shift stock.

Children’s footwear continued to sell better than men’s and women’s footwear.

Richard Dodd, Scottish Retail Consortium head of media, said:”These Scottish figures don’t look too good - almost the same as last November and below the performance elsewhere in the UK - but they’re better than they seem.

“Sales growth figures south of the border are stronger because the comparison is with really dismal results there this time last year. In the run-up to Christmas 2008, Scottish customers were hit less severely by financial industry turmoil and the developing recession. That means Scottish retailing hasn’t as far to climb to recovery.”

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