Scottish retail sales during February experienced a 0.7% increase in comparison to a 0.6% decline last year, the latest statistics have revealed.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG’s Retail Sales Monitor saw like-for-likes decline by 0.1% during the month, in comparison to February 2012 when they dropped by 1.7%.

Total food sales rose by 2% on last February, when they had increased by 3.4%, which is the weakest growth since July 2012, excluding Christmas.

David Martin, head of policy at the SRC, said: "This is an encouraging result with February being the third consecutive month of Scottish sales growth and the best three-month average in nearly two years. However, total sales didn’t measure up well against those in January and in real terms were down 0.3%. This reminds us that the economy and trading environment remains fragile.

"The gap between Scottish sales growth and that for the UK as a whole widened again in February returning to what has been the norm for around two years. All in all, however, this is a satisfactory showing and should be welcomed with cautious optimism."

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: "February’s performance delivered a third consecutive month of growth for the Scottish retail sector, which will give retailers reasons to feel fairly upbeat as we head into Spring.

"Retailers will now be hoping for an even stronger March, buoyed by Mother’s Day and Easter falling in the same month. The hope is that next week’s Budget will deliver a fillip to stimulate consumer spending in the long term, and provide a much needed boost to the sector."