Retail sales in Scotland increased slightly in the third quarter of the year, according to the latest official figures.
The volume of sales rose by 1 per cent during the period, and by 4 per cent compared with the same period last year.
In value terms, without adjusting for inflation, sales increased by 0.3 per cent and by 1.2 per cent annually.
The index represents the whole of the sector, including all large retailers and a representative panel of smaller businesses, with retail sales accounting for about 5.5 per cent of the Scottish economy.
Data published by KPMG and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) last month showed that Scottish retailers enjoyed their best month of sales in more than a year during September but the trading environment remained “challenging”.
SRC director David Lonsdale said today that the official figures, pointing to a second successive quarter of growth, were “encouraging”.
“However, when one factors in shop prices, which have fallen in each of the past 30 months, it shows that retailers are having to work ever harder to maintain let alone grow sales values,” he added.
“The period leading up to Christmas is the most important trading period in the year for many retailers and with shop price inflation at a record low and pay growth outstripping inflation consumers are set to benefit from some great deals.”
Lonsdale added: “The prospects for retailers are ultimately determined by the state of the economy and their own ability to adapt and seize on the opportunities that arise. With the clock ticking down towards big upcoming announcements on the UK and devolved budgets in a few weeks’ time, retailers will be looking for convincing action from the Chancellor and Scotland’s finance secretary to improve consumer confidence, as well as steadfast resistance to stem the relentless rise in government-inspired cost pressures which have been witnessed of late or are under consideration. Rising costs divert and exhaust resources which otherwise would be used to grow the business.”