Scotland’s spending recovery since lockdown lifted in July has remained strong, with spending in October up 8 per cent on the same period last year despite tougher restrictions in place across the country.

The latest Bank of Scotland Spending Power Report also recorded a third successive monthly increase in spending on non-essential items, with outlays on home improvements outweighing a crash in recreational activities. Gabby Collins, head of payments at Bank of Scotland, said the figures reflect a shift in where people’s money is going, rather than showing evidence of a country close to being back to normal.

“The introduction of a new tiered system in Scotland in November to tackle the pandemic, along with the announcement of regions moving into Tier 4, will likely have an impact on national spend through winter," she said. "However it’s too early to say how pronounced that impact will be.”

READ MORE: Inflation pushed up by food and clothing prices but remains way below target

Reflecting limited opening times for the hospitality sector in October, and even tougher measures in place across central Scotland, spending in restaurants fell for the first time since July, down 5% year-on-year. The amount spent on recreational activities such as cinema and theatre visits shrunk by 18%.

There was also no sign of people rushing back to book holidays for next year, with spending down 57% compared to October 2019.

However, strong growth in spending in home stores and electrical stores - both up 44% compared to last year - alongside an increase of 41% at other retailers such as online marketplaces helped push non-essential spend into positive territory.

Green light for waterfront hotel plans


Mosaic Architecture + Design has secured planning approval to build a hotel on the site of the former Glasgow Garden Festival.

The Holiday Inn Pacific Quay, a 150-bedroom hotel, represents an investment of more than £18m in Glasgow by developer Pacific Quay Developments. The hotel will be operated by RBH Hospitality Management and create more than 50 permanent jobs.

READ MORE: Planning approval to 'kickstart the Clyde Mission'

Royal Mail gets online shopping boost

HeraldScotland: P59 Royal Mail.jpg-pwrt3.jpg

Royal Mail has raised its full-year revenue forecast amid gains from the surge in online shopping spurred by coronavirus lockdowns, but warned it is still struggling with the costs of social distancing and its loss-making letters business.

The company said it now expects revenue to be £380 million to £580m higher last year, and that its main UK operation could break even if it hit the top end of that forecast.

The former state-owned postal monopoly said pre-tax profit dropped to £17m for the six months to September 27, down from £173m a year earlier. Revenue jumped nearly 10% to £5.67 billion as parcel volumes registered strong growth, driven by an increase in e-commerce activity.

READ MORE: Royal Mail hiring record number of seasonal staff

Sign up

You can now have the bulletin and the top business news stories sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily, as well as Business Week, the weekly round-up on Sunday: