Compares with UK overal sales rise of 3.4%
Scottish retail sales were down 1.2 per cent year on year in May, new figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) suggest.
Total sales for the month were up 0.1 per cent overall, though sales were down on a year ago after stripping out new store openings.
Warmer weather at the end of May had helped to lift sales, the SRC said, though Scotland was far more subdued than the rest of the UK.
Total UK sales rose by 3.4 per cent in May – the fourteenth month in a row UK sales growth has outstripped that of Scotland.
SRC director Ian Shearer said: "A welcome spell of warmth at the end of May helped lift these figures but the burst of summer didn't bring a boost on the scale enjoyed elsewhere.
"The underlying picture remains weak, showing sales falling in real terms for the sector overall, and this is particularly worrying given that they are being compared against poor figures for May in 2011."
He added: "Consumer caution persisted, household budgets are still under severe strain and most shoppers are committed to buying only what they consider to be essentials."
David McCorquodale, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, said: "A week of sunshine and Scotland's muted celebration of the Jubilee will not overcome the underlying issues facing the industry, which remains under pressure from a combination of low consumer confidence and squeezed incomes.
"We have seen yet more casualties on the high street in May and more are forecast.
"The seismic structural changes in the industry would be easier to manage in a better economic environment but retailers do not have that luxury and are therefore hanging on and managing cash and margins as best they can."