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5 August 2015, 12:11
Retail sales in Scotland increased slightly during the second quarter of the year, according to official statistics.
The latest Retail Sales Index data shows that sales increased by 0.8% between April and July, compared with the previous three months.
Sales for the second quarter grew by 2.4% compared with the same three-month period in 2014.
Meanwhile, retail sales for the whole of Great Britain increased by 0.7% for the second quarter of 2015, up by 4.4% when compared with the same quarter in 2014.
Sales at large retail businesses, those with at least 250 employees, which account for about 70% of retail industry sales, remained at the same level, with no growth during April to July compared with the previous quarter.
Small and medium stores, which account for the remaining 30% of sales, saw an increase in sales volumes of 1.5%.
On an annual basis, comparing the second quarter of 2015 to the same period in 2014, the quantity bought in Scottish stores increased by 1.7% for large retailers and rose by 2.3% for small and medium retailers.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the return to growth in the second quarter was "heartening'' but he warned of "continuing fragility'' in consumer confidence.
"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,'' he said.
"However, these figures do bring into sharp focus big upcoming decisions which could affect disposable incomes and take home pay, notably the setting of the new Scottish rate of income tax in next month's Scottish Budget and the unveiling this autumn of the promised replacement of council tax.
"These decisions must support consumer spending and economic growth with greater certainty over how the amount of money in people's pockets, and indeed consumer spending more widely will be affected by these changes.''