Scotland business

Scotland lags behind Britain in retail sales growth

Shoppers with bags Image copyright PA

Retail sales in Scotland have grown much more slowly over the past year than in Great Britain as a whole, according to new figures.

Between the first quarter of 2016 and the same period this year, the amount of goods sold in Scotland rose by 0.2%, compared with British growth of 2.1%.

Meanwhile, the value of shop sales north of the border grew by 1.8%, while Britain saw a rise of 4.8%.

The figures were included in the latest Retail Sales Index for Scotland.

Scotland outperformed Britain in the first three months of this year, however, in both value and volume terms.

The first quarter saw the volume of sales in Scotland fall by 0.4%, while the figure for Britain showed a drop of 1.4%.

And while the value of sales across Britain flat-lined, Scotland saw growth of 0.5% between January and March.

Image copyright Getty Images

Commenting on the figures, Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: "The improvement in the headline figure for the total value of retail sales in the first quarter of this year is encouraging at first glance, but it looks less rosy once falling shop prices are taken into account.

"Indeed, shop prices have fallen each month for the past four years which demonstrates that retailers are having to work ever harder to maintain let alone grow sales values."

'Uphill battle'

Euan Murray, from Barclays Corporate Banking, said: "Increased supply chain costs and issues could go some way to explaining the falling figures in this quarter - from the bad weather in Spain affecting food imports to the weak value of sterling, you don't have to look far for a reason.

"The sector has also had the added pressure of a later Easter, which could have resulted in less consumer spend in quarter one."

He added: "With 36% of UK e-retail sales via mobile, retailers must invest in their online and mobile shopping platforms to improve the user experience and drive growth.

"However, with inflation in the UK set to accelerate faster than earnings growth for the first time since 2014 and consumers planning to spend less on every category with the exception of grocery, it is looking like it's going to be an uphill battle for the high street."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

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