We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Retail Sales Index (RSI) For Scotland 2011 Quarter 1

DescriptionThe 2011 Q1 Retail Sales Index (RSI) for Scotland.
Official Print Publication DateMay 2011
Website Publication DateMay 04, 2011


For a Portable Document Format (.pdf) version of the results, use the following link:

RSI 2011Q1 PDF


To download the tables in Excel format, use the following link:

RSI 2011Q1 XLS

4 May 2011

Retail Sales in Scotland, in constant basic prices, fell by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 and grew by 2.4 per cent over the year to the end of 2011 Q1, according to provisional estimates released today by Scotland's Chief Statistician.

The main findings of the latest figures are:

· The volume of Retail Sales at basic prices in Scotland fell by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 and grew by 2.4 per cent annually (seasonally adjusted).

· The value of Retail Sales at current prices in Scotland grew by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 and grew by 3.7 per cent annually (seasonally adjusted).

Retail Sales in Great Britain:

· The volume of Retail Sales at basic prices in GB remained at the same level (i.e. there was 0.0 per cent growth) between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, and grew by 1.7 per cent annually (seasonally adjusted).

· The value of Retail Sales at current prices grew by 1.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 and grew by 3.0 per cent annually (seasonally adjusted).

RSI 2011 Q1


Definitions and Methodology

1. The Retail Sales Index (RSI) is a measure of the total turnover at basic prices of businesses registered as retailers according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), an internationally agreed convention for classifying industries.

2. The ONS publication for GB Retail Sales has now moved to the new Standard Industrial Classification, SIC 2007. The two major differences are that 'sale of automotive fuel' is now classified as a retail activity, and 'repair of personal and household goods' have been reclassified out of retail sales. The Scottish Government Gross Domestic Product, GDP publication will move to SIC 2007 when the main UK National Accounts aggregates start to be published on that basis. As this publication contains component series from the Scottish GDP figures, it will continue to be based on SIC 2003 classification until that time. The repair sector, which in practice represented 6 out of 700 surveyed companies is no longer included in these results as these companies are now surveyed as part of the main services survey inquiry. Consequently the Retail Sales Index in this publication does not include companies classified under 'repair of personal and household goods'.

3. In terms of business activity these figures are directly comparable to the published GB Retail Sales series 'excluding automotive fuel' - which is the GB series provided for comparison in this bulletin.

4. Scottish RSI estimates will generally be less reliable than the equivalent estimates for Great Britain, primarily because the survey data for Scotland tend to be based on smaller numbers of units, making figures for Scotland more likely to be susceptible to statistical variability. Statistical variability in estimates is directly proportional to the variability in the underlying population of interest. In the current economic climate, the variability in the economy is increased and users should bare this in mind when interpreting all economic indicators.

5. A constant price series is one where values are expressed in terms of the prices of a single year, thereby removing the effects of inflation. A constant price series is also referred to as a volume series. Current prices are the estimated monetary value. They show the value for each item expressed in terms of the prices of that period.

6. Deflators are derived by weighting together Consumer Price Indices to represent the pattern of sales in the base year. These deflators are then applied to the value data to produce the volume series.

7. The Scottish RSI is derived from the same data used to calculate the RSI for Great Britain. Businesses are identified as operating in Scotland based on the location of their staff and weights are derived from the number of employees based in Scotland. The sample represents the whole retail sector and includes all large retailers and a representative panel of smaller businesses. The sample size of retail businesses operating in Scotland is approximately 700. We estimate that this covers 80% of the sector's turnover and 75% of employment.

8. The quarterly turnover data are stratified by number of employees and weighted to an overall Scotland level using Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) data as a sampling frame.

9. Further methodology information and summary analysis of the sub-series of the Scottish GDP growth estimates for the Retail sector can found in the paper "A Closer Look at Retail Sales Statistics for Scotland" published in March 2011.


Methodology developments

10. The Scottish GDP indices, which include the retail sales index are under a continuing program of methodological development which is regularly peer reviewed by the Scottish Economic Statistics Consultants Group (SESCG). Information about SESCG, including papers and minutes from recent meetings, is available on the Scottish Government website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/ScotStat/comms.


11. Annual chainlinking is the technique used to compile the overall measure of RSI growth.

12. The weights used to produce growth rates for Scotland in this publication reflect the Scottish Input-Output analysis published on 13 October 2010, with the latest weights relating to 2007.

13. The Office for National Statistics updated the weights used to compile their aggregate measures, including RSI, in the 2010 Q1 Quarterly National Accounts published on the 12th July 2010. UK data are now calculated using weights relating to 2006.

Seasonal Adjustment

14. The data used in the production of these quarterly RSI estimates are seasonally adjusted in accordance with international practice.

15. The X-12-ARIMA technique is used where appropriate to remove seasonal peaks and troughs so that the underlying trends and other features of the data are easier to identify. Further information about the seasonal adjustment of the economic data can be found in section A3 of Scottish Economic Statistics 2006 ( www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/ses).


16. Series are based on deflated turnover from the GB Retail Sales Index. Where a retailer operates across GB , turnover is allocated to Scotland based on the proportion of employees based in Scotland.

17. The quarterly Scottish RSI estimates are published approximately 6 weeks after the end of the quarter to which they relate.


18. Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of 'errors' in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical 'error', but in this context, the word refers to the uncertainty inherent in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques, or the incorporation of new information which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced. Only rarely are there avoidable 'errors' such as human or system failures, and such mistakes are made quite clear when they do occur.

19. The figures in this Statistics Publication Notice incorporate revisions to previously published estimates and include the effects of recent ONS revisions to GB Retail Sales series and the underlying source data. The table below shows the extent of revisions to zero decimal places since the last publication in February 2011.

Revisions to Index Numbers published on 2 February 2011
Scotland, 2008 Q1 to 2010 Q42007=100
Total Retail Sales
Volume at basic pricesValue at current pricesImplied Deflator
Seasonally Adjusted

20. Scottish RSI estimates are a small (5.3%) component of the overall GDP estimate. The Q1 figures outlined in this publication may be subject to revisions when the Scottish GDP index for Q1 of 2011 is published in July 2011.

Issued by

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

St Andrew's House

Regent Road

Edinburgh, EH1 3DG


Press Office: Tim Jays 0131-244-5122

Statistician: David Jack 0131-244-3772