Like-for-like sales rose 0.8%, as against the 2.7% drop in the same period in 2012. In real terms, total August sales were up 4% after taking account of shop price deflation at 0.5%.

The agency noted that August saw the best growth in total sales since 2009 and the three-month average total sales growth, which continued to accelerate to 3.4%, is in line with that of the UK at 3.4%.

SRC director general Fiona Moriarty said combined with a recent uplift in Scottish consumer confidence, people are more optimistic about the economy and responding well to retailers’ targeted promotions and new ranges.

"The best growth was seen in food: even if it wasn’t in line with its exceptional July result, it still had a solid showing buoyed by barbeque and picnic fare on warm days but also more wintry food when the temperatures cooled down," Moriarty added.

Total food rose by 3.6% up on August 2012 while non-food sales increased by 3.4% on a year earlier when they had decreased by 4.1%.This was seen as better than the previous year when consumers preferred watching the Olympics over shopping, with technology and home improvement items clocking the highest sales.

"That’s a very encouraging quarter which puts Scottish retailers in a good position as we shift to a new season and start getting into gear for the all-important Christmas countdown," Moriarty said.