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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-12889: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to address the 0.8% decrease in total sales in the last year reported by the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 6 December 2017

Although the Scottish Retail Sales Monitor is a useful indication of retail trends the more widely recognised measure of retail sales activity is the Retail Sales Index, based on the Retail Sales Inquiry carried out by the Office for National Statistics. This survey captures approximately 90 per cent of the British retail industry in terms of turnover. Estimates of the Retail Sales Index for Scotland are produced by the Scottish Government. The latest release (2017 Q3) showed that the volume of retail sales in Scotland remained stable in 2017 Q3 compared to the previous quarter (2017 Q2) and expanded on an annual basis (2017 Q3 on 2016 Q3) by 0.6 per cent.

We recognise, and these figures show, that UK Government austerity measures and Brexit are affecting consumer confidence and spending. Despite this, we are doing everything within our powers to support our economy, including our retailers. For example, this year we have reduced the business rates poundage by 3.7 per cent and funded total rates relief of around £660 million, including the Small Business Bonus Scheme which will lift 100,000 properties out of rates altogether. In addition, we are working with the Scottish Retail Consortium to develop a retail strategy which will set out a clear road map for future tax and regulatory changes.