The volume of retail sales in Scotland saw a surprising rise in 2011, increasing by 0.7% compared to just 0.3% throughout the rest of the UK.
There was further positive news in that the value of sales increased by 3.5%, once again ahead of the national average which was at 3.4% over the year.
Commenting on the news, the Scottish government said the findings showed that their measures taken to boost customer confidence had been successful. However, the news will surprise many in the retail sector, with a number of high profile outlets having gone to the wall over recent months.
There is confidence within government that the measures being taking will allow Scotland to continue to outperform the UK as a whole. John Swinney, the Finance Secretary said:
“Scotland offers businesses the most generous package in the UK, (with) two out of every five commercial premises now benefit(ing) from tax breaks…”
Tough trading conditions continue to make things a challenge though and, whilst opportunities may exist, it is hard for companies not able to access commercial finance in Scotland to take advantage.
Business is starting to help itself however, with Scottish factoring companies helping to arrange facilities to free up finance. Initially beneficial to maintain staff and keep payroll going, such funding is now being used to drive things forward.
Indeed many seeing this news, which also shows that in the final three months of 2011 retail sale values increased by 0.8%, may well want to see what opportunities are available for them and work to make it happen.