Retail sales growth in Scotland was at its slowest rate in two and a half years in September, as consumer confidence and rising living costs squeezed spending.

Like-for-like sales were flat compared to growth of 3.3 per cent in September 2007, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium’s Retail Sales Monitor.

Retail sales growth in Scotland was still ahead of the UK as a whole, where sales in September were down 1.5 per cent.

Food sales remained stronger for the month, up 4.2 per cent like for like, with non-food declining 3.9 per cent on last year.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: “Despite trading marginally better than the rest of the UK, conditions are still very tough for Scottish retailers with the only growth in September experienced in the food sector.”

The drop in non-food, Moriarty said, happened despite heavy discounting.

“This decrease has been evident since the summer but the decline has been getting steadily more pronounced in recent months and will worry many retailers as Christmas approaches,” she said.