RETAIL sales in Scotland dropped sharply in the key fourth-quarter trading period, but the fall was less steep than that in Great Britain as a whole, official figures show.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: The thrawn Tory Brexiters should heed words of Burns as they fly Union Flags

The figures add to the picture of retailers having endured a dismal festive trading period. The UK economy is estimated by experts to have contracted or stagnated during the fourth quarter.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Unsettling tick-tock sound as Johnson takes UK down path of Brexit misery, against Scotland's will

Seasonally adjusted figures published yesterday by the Scottish Government show retail sales volumes north of the Border fell 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year. In Great Britain as a whole, retail sales volumes were down by 1% over the same period.