Retail sales in Scotland during the last quarter of 2010 grew 2.4 per cent year-on-year and outperformed the rest of the UK, according to data released by the Scottish government today.
Compared to the last quarter, Q4 sales volumes were 0.3 per cent higher north of the border whilst overall UK sales for the same period also grew 0.3 per cent but year-on-year growth was just 1.7 per cent.
These figures will come as a welcome relief to the Scottish retail sector which has been suffering due to reduced consumer spending and the threat of large public sector jobs cuts.
Enterprise Minister for the Scottish government Jim Mather said: “These figures show that despite continuing financial pressures and the severe wintry weather we experienced towards end of 2010, Scottish consumer confidence continues to hold up and is making an important contribution to strengthening the recovery we are building in Scotland.
“The annual percentage rise in both the volume and value of retail sales was higher in Scotland than the rest of GB, showing that consumers supported Scottish retailers to a greater extent than those in other parts of Britain over the year to December.”
Two weeks ago the latest Scottish Retail Sales Monitor produced by the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG, showed total retail trading was up 3.4 per cent in December compared to the previous year.
Another recent piece of good news for the sector was the decision by the Local Government and Communities Committee to oppose the proposed supermarket levy which is being voted on today.
The law, that would impose a higher tax rate retail stores with a rateable value of more than £750,000, now looks likely to be voted down in parliament this afternoon.
David Lonsdale, Confederation of British Industry Scotland’s Assistant Director, said about the law: “Making it more expensive to invest and create jobs here in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK is self-defeating, and wholly at odds with the devolved administration’s stated ambition to make Scotland ‘the most attractive place for doing business in Europe’.”