Licensed firms report poor festive sales

Pubs, hotels and late-night venues across Scotland experienced poor sales over Christmas, according to new research.

More than half of those surveyed reported a decline in trading over the 2017 festive period, with rural businesses under particular pressure.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) questioned 600 operators across the hospitality sector, covering pubs, hotel groups and late night premises.

According to an executive summary of its findings, 53% reported a decline over Christmas 2017 compared with Christmas 2016.

Rural outlets were the hardest hit, with none of those surveyed seeing growth over Christmas compared to the previous year.

The poor festive season came at the end of a disappointing year overall in which only 39% of respondents reported growth.

The SLTA declined to publish the full survey results.

Chief executive Paul Waterson said: "Government legislation, whether this is national or local, continues to be the biggest challenge facing retailers, particularly for rural operators who are often the lifeblood of local communities.

"Worryingly, zero rural operators reported growth over the Christmas/New Year period. This is extremely concerning given the importance of tourism to Scotland's economy."

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