RETAIL sales on Scotland’s high streets grew in January following a weak Christmas period, new figures have revealed.

Analysis by SRC-KPMG showed that for the period between December 30 and January 26, sales increased by 2.2% despite a 1% fall the previous month.

Food saw the biggest increase with growth of 4.9% – likely due to New Year and Burns Night, analysts have said.

Meanwhile non-food sales, which had dropped by as much as 2.8% in December, saw a more modest increase of 0.2%.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “January saw a welcome return to retail sales growth after what had been an underwhelming end to 2018.

“Grocery sales did well, helped by New Year and Burns Night celebrations, both of which encouraged shoppers to stock up on Scottish favourites including steak pies and haggis.

“Non-food retailers saw good performance in homeware and furniture, with consumers looking to freshen up their homes.”

Lonsdale added that health-related items – like skincare products and diet goods – had enjoyed an increase, thanks to New Year’s resolutions leading to lifestyle changes.

He continued: “Nonetheless, it’s important to note a good January doesn’t offset a disappointing November and December, which are the crucial trading months.

“Consumers continue to be careful with their spending at a time when political and economic uncertainty dominate the headlines, and with council tax and other cost of living rises in the pipeline.

“Policymakers should keep household spending pressures upmost in their minds over the next few months as a result.”

Paul Martin of KPMG added the figures were “a glimmer of hope”.

“Shoppers took full advantage of winter discounts which boosted sales, but these figures are also a reminder that consumers are prepared to wait for heavy discounts before purchasing, putting further pressure on retailers.

“The festive period is now well and truly a distant memory and retailers will be doing all they can to adapt and remain agile in this rapidly evolving market”.