SRC: “Window to positively shape retail reinvention in Scotland is closing.”

Today, 24th July 2018, new analysis released by the Scottish Retail Consortium shows the scale of the changing retail industry across Scotland. Using Scottish Government data, the SRC mapped the change in retail turnover, job numbers, and shop numbers from 2008 to 2015 by local authority. 

  • Retail Turnover:  The Lothians and Edinburgh showed strong growth over the seven year period, with turnover growing between 23 and 56 per cent. However, despite Scotland overall seeing nearly nine percent growth, eleven local authority areas actually saw a fall in retail turnover.
  • Employment: Across Scotland over the seven years 16,000 jobs were lost, and it’s not surprising only five local authority areas saw a rise in employment. Both Dundee and Glasgow performed worse than the Scottish average; but the most significant falls in job numbers came in Inverclyde and Falkirk.
  • Shop Numbers: There is a degree of correlation between falling employment and shop numbers. Inverclyde, Perth & Kinross, all saw serious falls in shop numbers. However, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow all saw fewer shop closures than the Scottish average,  which supports the SRC’s previous analysis that larger conurbations are most likely to retain shops.

The Analysis can be read in full here: 

Commenting on the analysis, SRC Head of Policy Ewan MacDonald-Russell, said:

“This analysis demonstrates how retail change is affecting the whole of Scotland, but in very different ways. For some communities this is leading to new opportunities; with investment in new jobs, more productive and interesting work, and different business models.

“However, we should not be blind to the serious repercussions these changes can have for local communities. We are seeing shop closures and job losses which will reduce retail involvement in some town centres. That change is inevitable, and presents a real challenge to Government and Local Authorities. They have the power to influence the pace of change, buying time for new investment and developments, but only if the scale of this transformation is recognised, and swift and coordinated action taken.

“We’ve already seen some positive steps, including the commitment to a retail strategy and last year’s decision to limit the rise in the rates poundage to CPI. Nonetheless, more needs to be done. To start, the Scottish Government should set an accelerated timetable to bring the Large Business Supplement back into parity with the rest of the UK, and abandon their proposals for a new out-of-town levy. Local Government needs to take steps as well. Currently Only three local authorities have used the Local Discretionary Rates Relief scheme to support high street businesses in the last two years – and few seems to want to act to support struggling shopkeepers.

“The Scottish retail industry is going through a period of profound change. The window to positively shape retail reinvention in Scotland is closing. Now is the time for action to be taken.”


Notes to Editors

  1. All media enquiries to Ewan MacDonald-Russell, SRC Head of Policy
  2. Please find attached the full tables containing all 32 local authorities ranked for each category in the attached document.  Excel versions are available on request.
  3. The data contained in this release is based on the Scottish Government’s Annual Business Survey ( )
  4. The calculations used for this are based on the percentage change between 2008 and 2015.
  5. The sample size in some cases for local authority data is relatively small which is why the largest timeframe available (when this analysis was conducted earlier this year) has been used.