Scottish firms have started the new year in despondent mood, judging by a new report published today.
Bank of Scotland (BoS) says the nation’s businesses are fed up with economic uncertainties – more so than their peers elsewhere in the UK – and suffering weak UK demand and skills shortages.
They are also increasingly sceptical about Brexit, the bank’s figures suggest.
On a brighter note, the latest BoS Business in Britain report says a positive balance of Scottish firms are optimistic about their export potential.
Trading updates are coming thick and fast this week, with retailers north of the border looking for comfort from what’s been happening over the festive season at a UK level.
Britain’s retail heavyweights will reveal their latest figures amid mixed signs on the high street.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Tesco are among a bevy of retailers to report to the market following a strong showing from Next and a profit warning from struggling Debenhams.
Tesco, which has been undergoing a turnaround under chief executive Dave Lewis, is expected to continue along the road to recovery by posting strong sales figures.
Analysts at UBS are forecasting a 2.4% increase in like-for-like sales over both the Christmas period and the third quarter as a whole.
Retail bellwether M&S is expected to record another decline at its troubled womenswear division.
It is coming up against a much tougher comparison from a year earlier, when clothing sales rose by an impressive 2.3%.
Among the other retailers reporting figures this week are AO World, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker and John Lewis.