Sales of food in Scotland continue to fall as shoppers not only take advantage of retailers’ price promotions but hunt out cheaper lines, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium.

November’s total food sales rose 3.8% down from 7% in August and were up just 1.8% on a like-for-like basis compared to 6% in November 2001.

Shoppers have been stocking up on champagne, beer, whisky and wine for Christmas but from non-specialist shops rather than off-licences.

Convenience stores have reported buoyant sales of chilled food, beer, wine, snacks and confectionery driven by the festive season and recent coverage of football on TV.

Scottish high street sales slowed from 5.3% in October to 4.2% in November. Spending growth has fallen steadily over the course of this year.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty expected retailers to have “a reasonable - if not spectacular - Christmas”.