Scottish retail sales dip after period of growth

Shopper The figures suggest high street sales dipped in the run-up to Christmas

Related Stories

Shop sales dipped in the final quarter of 2012 but grew over the year as a whole, according to figures released by the Scottish government.

The Retail Sales Index indicated that volumes fell by 0.5% in the last three months of the year, compared with a drop of 0.4% in Great Britain.

Without adjusting for inflation, Scottish sales showed zero growth in value for the second quarter in a row.

Over the year, volumes grew by 0.7% while the value of sales was up 1.1%.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The retail sector can be assured that this government is doing all we can to maintain Scotland's position as the most supportive business environment in the UK.

"The Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) and other reliefs combined give Scottish business a real competitive edge - they are worth more than £500m annually and benefit two out of every five commercial premises in Scotland.

"Added to this, our support for the social wage with a council tax freeze is helping to put money in people's pockets and is supporting hard pressed households," he added.

Concern 'remains'

Reacting to the figures, the Scottish Conservatives said concern remained over the health of Scotland's retail industry.

Finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: "The Scottish government failed to walk the talk when it comes to the economy and creating jobs.

"It has imposed a Scotland-only retail levy, the empty properties tax and has increased the tax burden on businesses substantially."

Figures released last month by the Scottish Retail Consortium showed sales matching UK figures for the first time in nearly two years.

A 1.5% increase on the previous December was driven by non-food sales, which recorded their best performance since March 2011.

At the time, SRC described the figures as a "relatively good result" at the end of a "relentlessly tough year".

'Restrained spending'

Euan Murray, from Barclays Corporate Banking, said higher sales over the Christmas period failed to counter the restrained consumer spending seen through most of the last quarter of 2012.

He added: "Early discounting put pressure on retailers to sell more and those who failed to appropriately marry online with bricks and mortar felt the impact.

"Despite the challenging start to 2013, with talk of a triple dip recession and a number of high street failures, the outlook for retailers is not all doom and gloom.

"There are strong opportunities in the click and collect space, and importantly consumer confidence appears to be on the rise."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland business stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.