The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) has welcomed new official figures showing it is now much less common for school pupils to buy alcohol directly from local shops.

The Scottish Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) data shows that since 2002 the number of 15-year-old pupils buying alcohol from a shop fell from 18% to 6%. However, the report also highlighted that, for young people, the most common sources of alcohol were through proxy purchasing.

SGF head of public affairs John Lee said: “This marked decline in purchases from shops is very encouraging and clearly shows that retailers have been extremely successful in implementing Challenge 25.

“It also clearly shows how seriously our members take responsible community retailing and their compliance obligations. Our focus now has to be on supporting retailers and our communities in dealing with more complex issues such as proxy purchase.”

As part of the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership, SGF has recently been involved in successful proxy purchase campaigns in Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire.

SALSUS is a biennial survey, complied on behalf of the Scottish government, based on responses from 25,304 pupils across 264 secondary schools in both the state and independent sector.

Elsewhere, the SGF said it had “strong reservations” about Scottish plans for minimum unit pricing for alcohol, which moved a step forward last week after the Court of Session in Edinburgh dismissed a legal challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association.

“Our concerns focused on three key areas,” Lee said. “We were not convinced that the evidence – and the modelling the policy is based on – was strong enough to justify the measure; the proposals were too open to legal challenge; and we were concerned about the potential impact on cross-border illicit trade if alcohol becomes more expensive in Scotland.”