Retailers are calling on the government to "kick-start a spending revival on the high street", after a February which saw another month of poor sales.

Scottish retailers are growing at their lowest level for two-and-a-half years, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), as non-food sales slump by 2.5%.

"Bright spots", including Valentine's Day, helped boost income last month, with more people eating in for the evening contributed to a 6% rise in food sales.

Year-on-year decline worked out as 1.1% when adjusting for inflation.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: "February brought more discomfort for hard-pressed Scottish shopkeepers as total retail sales growth during the month fell further to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years.

"When adjusting for shop price inflation it was the eighth successive month of declining real terms growth.

"There were some bright spots. Some retailers benefited from purchases associated with St Valentine’s Day, buoyed by sales of cosmetics, fragrances and chocolates.

"Grocery sales got a bump too from St Valentine’s Day as people marked the occasion at home rather than spend more going out to eat."

Struggling sector 'pinning their hopes' on good news

Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer, leisure and retail at KPMG, said a difficult period for retailers have left many reliant on Jeremy Hunt delivering some good news on Wednesday.

"As many households continue to adapt budgets to meet higher essential costs, including higher mortgage rates, consumer reluctance to get out there and start spending is likely to remain in the short term.

"With big increases in labour costs and business rates just weeks away, adding to an already stressed cost agenda for retailers, many will be pinning their hopes on some good news in the chancellors’ spring budget this week to help to kick-start a spending revival on the high street."

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: "With consumer confidence and demand remaining weak, government must find ways to stimulate the economy.

"Retailers have some government-induced cost hurdles to jump in the coming months, including a £400m business rates rise based on last September’s 6.7% inflation rate. By using the budget to reduce this, the chancellor will lend a helping hand to much-needed investment in businesses and local communities up and down the country."

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