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Retail sales on the rise again in Scotland

Retail Sales Index statistics show a 1.2% increase in the amount of goods bought in the first quarter of the year.

Retail figures in Scotland grew in the first quarter of 2019, statistics show (John Linton/PA)
Retail figures in Scotland grew in the first quarter of 2019, statistics show (John Linton/PA)

Retail sales have risen in Scotland for the third consecutive quarter, according to official statistics.

Figures published for the Retail Sales Index Scotland (RSIS) indicate the quantity of retail sales – the amount of goods bought – grew by 1.2% in the first quarter of 2019, compared with the previous quarter at the end of last year (0.1%).

Over the same period, the UK as a whole had a 1.6% increase in retail sales, a rise on the 0.1% for the previous quarter.

The value of retail sales, when not adjusted for inflation, grew by 1.1% during the first quarter of 2019.

Over the same period, the UK as a whole had a 1.6% increase.

Retail sales figures have a strong and predictable seasonal pattern, with rises expected in the fourth quarter over the Christmas period.

The Retail Sales Index statistics are estimated using a monthly survey of 5,000 businesses in the UK carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Lindsay Gardiner, of PwC Scotland, said: “The growth in retail sales in Scotland is markedly slower than in Great Britain overall, which illustrates the scale of the challenge on our high streets. At +1.2% in volume and +1.1% in value, Scotland is 0.4 and 0.5 percentage points behind GB growth.

“One aspect which will be of interest to retailers is that for the first time in almost three years volume has increased at a faster rate than value, indicating that consumers are looking for better deals when they do spend.

“With PwC’s recently published report into retail sales showing that in Scotland more than 265 shops closed across the eight largest towns and cities in the country last year, with only 146 opening.

“To combat this retailers must look at their offering and ensure they have the right proposition, and the investment to deliver it.”

PA

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