Official statistics published today show that the value of retail sales in Scotland grew by 2.5 per cent over the last 12 months while the volume of retails sales rose by two per cent.
This is above the growth rate for Great Britain where the value of retail sales grew by two per cent annually and the volume of retail sales rose by 1.3 per cent over the past year.
The value of retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 (January to March) compared to the previous quarter while the volume of retail sales in Scotland increased by 0.3 per cent during this time.
During the first quarter of 2013 the volume of GB retail sales increased by 0.5 per cent and the value of GB retail sales rose by 0.7 per cent.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“These figures show an encouraging rise in retail figures with an increase in both the amount of goods bought and the amount spent both in the first quarter of 2013 and over the past 12 months.
“The 0.3 per cent rise in volume of retail sales comes after a small decline of 0.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2012, suggesting a slight recovery in consumer confidence and purchasing at the start of the year.
“These positive figures come after last month’s GDP results that show Scotland’s economy grew 0.5 per cent from October to December, compared to the UK where the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent over the same period and follow on from recent labour market statistics showing that Scotland had higher employment and lower unemployment compared to the rest of the UK.
“Despite the encouraging retail sales figures, it remains a trying time for the retail industry and demonstrates again the need for the UK Government to take urgent action to stimulate the economy.
“With its limited powers the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to improve consumer confidence. Our council tax freeze has resulted in average saving of over £700 for households across the country since 2008.
“This is coupled with action to support the retail sector directly. We are maintaining Scotland’s position as the most supportive business environment in the UK and our Small Business Bonus Scheme and other reliefs, provide zero or reduced business rates for 63 per cent of retail premises in Scotland.”