Scottish retail sales stall as inflation rises

By Douglas Fraser
Business/economy editor, Scotland

image copyrightPA

Retail sales in Scotland have stalled, according to the most recent evidence from the Scottish government.

It found that there was no change in the volume of goods being bought during July, August and September. In April to June, there was a rise of 1.2%.

The survey showed a small rise in the amount spent - a figure of 0.4%, not accounting for inflation.

That suggests Scottish consumers were buying the same amount, but for a higher total price.

Taken over the year to September, the latest statistics show the volume of sales was up 0.6%, but the value was up by 3.3%, while store prices rose 2.6%.

However, all these figures are subject to sizeable corrections in later quarters as new data comes in to government statisticians.

image copyrightSource: Scottish government

Commenting on the latest figures, Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy at the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Retailers will be disappointed to see anaemic sales value growth as they prepare for the crucial run up to Christmas.

"When combined with flat sales volumes, the evidence shows Scottish retail sales appear to be stuck in the doldrums

"With overall inflation rising, and the possibility of rising interest rates and potential tax rises, consumer confidence is understandably fragile, and these figures will at least partly reflect that.

"Considering the crucial importance of consumer spending to Scotland's economic growth, the Scottish government should be paying close attention to their own statistics and carefully considering how they can encourage customers to continue shopping."

To help the sector, the retailer representative said the Scottish finance secretary's draft budget, to be published next month, should re-align tax with the rest of the UK and avoid further divergence, while bringing down the business rates supplement levied on larger premises.

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