Sales by Scottish food retailers increased at a slow but steady 3.5% in May Â- the lowest monthly rate for more than two years, while like-for-like sales were just 1.9% higher compared with last year.

Total retail sales increased by 4.4%, a slightly bigger rise than in April when an increase of 4.2% was recorded, says the Scottish Retail Monitor. On a like-for-like basis, however, growth was just 1.6%.

The off-licence sector had a “very good” month with an influx of US and Japanese tourists leading to strong sales of malt whisky. Champagne, spirits, beer and wine all sold “very well”.

Sales of barbecue and picnic-related items dropped because of the poor weather.

Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium Patrick Browne said: “As predicted last month, the World Cup and Golden Jubilee boosted consumer spending in various areas. Unfortunately, the poorer weather in May seems to have dampened retail sales in other areas considerably.

“Scotland's retail sales are now growing at a consistently slower rate and are behind the figures for the rest of the UK for the third month running.”

Growth in the UK also decelerated last month, but not to the same extent. The UK recorded total sales growth of 5.5% and like-for-like sales growth of 2.7%.