Scotland business

Scottish shop sales rise but lag behind Great Britain

Shoppers with bags Image copyright PA

Scottish shop sales rose at the end of last year but lagged well behind the UK as a whole, according to new figures.

The latest retail sales index showed Scottish sales rose by 0.8% in value in the fourth quarter, compared with a country-wide figure of 1.5%.

The volume of sales north of the border rose by 1.7%, compared with 2.3% for Great Britain as a whole.

On an annual basis, Scotland lagged behind Great Britain in both volume and value terms.

In terms of volume, Scottish sales showed a year-on-year rise of 1.6% in the final quarter, compared with a rise of 5% for all of Britain.

Large shops with at least 250 employees - which account for about 70% of retail industry sales - saw an increase of 0.9% in sales volumes, compared with the previous quarter.

Sales at small and medium stores grew by 3%.

Promotions 'extravaganza'

Commenting on the figures, Euan Murray of Barclays Corporate Banking said: "The extravaganza of planned promotions in November, as well as a last-minute dash in the days before Christmas provided a boost to the sector, resulting in an increase in sales volume in Scotland on both the previous quarter and year-on-year.

"Non-food products such as clothing fared particularly well towards the end of 2014, and now that the spring ranges are on the shelves, fashion retailers will be hoping for milder weather to encourage shoppers to freshen up their wardrobes with the new lines."

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: "The resumption of growth in retail sales in the final quarter of last year is encouraging, aided by falling prices at shop checkouts and at petrol pumps.

"The recovery in consumer confidence remains fragile however, and brings into sharp focus big upcoming public policy decisions which could affect disposable incomes and take home pay, notably the first minister's proposed replacement of council tax and the setting of the Scottish rate of income tax.

"These decisions must support consumer spending and economic growth."


Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The latest official Retail Sales Index for Scotland for the final quarter of 2014 showed that the retail sector in Scotland continued to grow over both the three-month period and the past year.

"Looking at the wider economy, Scotland now has the highest jobs figures in history, the highest female employment in history, the lowest level of unemployment since the end of 2008, lower unemployment than the rest of the UK and higher employment and economic activity."

Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said: "It is encouraging to see retail sales in Scotland increasing over the final quarter of 2014 and over the year.

"The UK is now the fastest growing economy in the western world and the decisions made by this government mean the country is on course to prosperity with higher growth, record employment, lower unemployment and a falling deficit.

"Scottish businesses have helped make this happen and they are benefiting from being part of a strong and diverse UK economy."

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