Scottish shoppers lose nerve as job cuts loom

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Retail sales down as Scotland prepares for public sector cuts.

Like-for-like sales in Scotland dipped in September as nerves about public sector job cuts affected shoppers, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Sales last month were 0.4 percent lower than in September 2009, when they had risen 1.5 percent. Like-for-like sales in Scotland have now shown a decline in five of the past six months.

Total Scottish sales in September were 2.3 percent up on a year ago, when they had risen 4.3 percent.

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Fears about job cuts and incomes hit non-food items, according to the BRC. Clothing, footwear, furniture and homewares all fell further below year-earlier levels with big-ticket and discretionary items the hardest hit by the weakness of consumer confidence.

Overall like-for-like sales slowed, as they did in the UK, but remained worse than in the UK, where sales were 0.5 percent up on a year ago.

The BRC said that consumer confidence was steady in Scotland but still weaker than in the UK with more concern about public sector job cuts in Scotland making shoppers more cautious about spending.

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