Both the volume and value of retail sales in Scotland grew in the first quarter of this year according to official statistics published today.
The figures show that the volume of retail sales increased by 0.7 per cent from January to March and the value of sales went up by 0.9 per cent over the same period.
On an annual basis, the volume of retail sales grew by 0.6 per cent, whilst the value grew by three per cent. The volume of sales in Scotland continues to outperform GB on an annual basis where sales have grown by 0.4 per cent over the year.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“Official figures show that the volume of retail sales is on a upward trend again, after remaining flat over the past two years. The 0.7 per cent increase in volume this quarter follows a 0.9 per cent rise in the final quarter of last year.
“The volume of retail sales also grew 0.6 per cent annually – faster than retail sales volume for GB as a whole which grew by 0.4 per cent over the same period.
“This expansion is welcome but the sector continues to face challenging conditions.
“The Scottish Government is doing what we can to maintain Scotland’s position as the most supportive business environment in the UK and actions such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme and other reliefs mean that 63 per cent of retail premises pay zero or reduced business rates.
“We are also continuing to ease the pressure on household incomes through the council tax freeze and protecting free prescriptions and concessionary travel.
“The Scottish economy is showing some positive signs. It outperformed the UK over the last quarter of 2011 and we have also seen a drop in unemployment. Employment in Scotland is higher than the UK as a whole, and unemployment is lower.
“We urgently need growth in the UK economy and Westminster has to take action to enhance economic security and strengthen the recovery.”