Industry leaders said February marked a slight improvement on January’s plunge, but the overall picture “remains unremittingly bleak”, particularly for non-food retailers.

Total sales north of the Border fell by 24.3 per cent last month compared with February 2020, when they had declined by just 0.8 per cent, according to the latest sales monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG.

Total food sales were up 3.1 per cent as supermarkets and other “essential” stores selling food and drink products remained open, though that increase was slightly down on January’s gain. However, there was yet another slide in total non-food sales, which slumped 47.4 per cent, year on year.

Adjusted for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales fell by 20.2 per cent last month versus February 2020.

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