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Scottish high streets face “challenging time” ahead Thursday, 2nd August 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Scotland’s shoppers remain cautious as retail sales lag behind the rest of the UK.
The latest figures from the Scottish Government show the overall value of goods sold by Scottish retailers fell 0.6 per cent between April and June, with volumes also dropping 0.3 per cent. This compared to a decline of just 0.3 per cent experienced in the UK.
David Lonsdale, assistant director of CBI Scotland, said weak consumer confidence was holding back spending across the entire retail sector.
“This is a challenging time for the high street, and is not helped by the Scottish Government’s £95 million business rates levy on retailers and their plans for a costly new administrative burden in the form of a carrier bag levy,” Lonsdale added.
Finance secretary John Swinney highlighted the longer-term upward trend in annual Scottish sales – which compares the latest four quarters against the preceding year – as evidence that his government’s economic strategy was “delivering results”.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said it was heartening to see “some growth” in a year that has been particularly difficult for the retail sector.
“This latest set of figures confirms the Scottish Chambers of Commerce current analysis of where our economy is just now – generally somewhat flat, with marginal growth and dips,” she said.
On a yearly basis, the value of retail sales in Scotland was growing at 2.4 per cent at the end of June, down from growth of 3 per cent at the end of the first quarter. UK retail sales are currently growing at 3.2 per cent annually.