Scotland business

Scots retail sales in spring dip

High Street shopper
Image caption Both the volume and value of retail sales in Scotland trailed the UK as a whole

Retail sales in Scotland trailed the performance in the rest of the UK over the past year, new figures show.

The overall value of goods sold by Scottish retailers fell by 0.6% between April and June compared with a 0.3% decline in the UK as a whole.

Over the year, spending in Scotland rose by 2.4% compared with British retail growth of 3.2%.

The volume of retail in Scotland sales fell by 0.3% during the quarter, the offical government figures showed.

This contrasts with 0.1% growth in volume, the average amount of goods traded at basic prices, across the UK during the same period.

Despite the recent falls, the Scottish government said the trend was upwards.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the government was doing what it could to be the "most supportive business environment in the UK".

CBI Scotland's assistant director David Lonsdale, said: "Weak consumer confidence and uncertainty over the economic outlook are putting a brake on consumer spending across the retail sector."

Marginal growth

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron commented: "Retail has not had the easiest time of it as a sector so it is heartening to see that over the year, there was some growth."

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said: "This latest set of figures confirm the Scottish Chambers of Commerce current analysis of where our economy is just now - generally somewhat flat, with marginal growth and dips."

"Retail has not had the easiest time of it as a sector so it is heartening to see that over the year, there was some growth.

"Decreasing inflation means that even though the value of retail sales may not increase so quickly, the impact on consumer spending combined with strengthening Scottish employment rates should see the sales volume begin to show improved growth going forward."

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: "The Scottish government claims to be working tirelessly but unfortunately it is working tirelessly in completely the wrong direction.

"The SNP is leaving no tax unturned in trying to hold retail back by bringing in the retail tax and trying to introduce the reduction in relief for empty properties."

Scottish Labour's finance spokesman Ken Macintosh said: "These figures show that the Scottish economy continues to be fragile, and, with poor summer weather, we can expect 2012 to be a difficult year for Scottish retail."

"Our high streets will continue to suffer until both the Scottish and Westminster governments begin to get people back into work and invest in capital projects which get money into Scots pockets which can then be spent in our shops."

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